The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) nominated 30 finalists in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—for the 2016 awards.

Carol Anderson, author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, is up for the NBCC Award for criticism. Also among the finalists are Swing Time author Zadie Smith (fiction), Commonwealth author Ann Patchett (fiction), The Iceberg author Marion Coutts (autobiography), and Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War Viet (general nonfiction).

The winners of three additional prizes were announced as well. The Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement went to poet, novelist, story writer, essayist, and environmental activist Margaret Atwood. Yaa Gyasi is the recipient of the fourth annual John Leonard Prize for her debut novel, Homegoing. Also, the 2015 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing went to Michelle Dean, whose journalism and criticism appear regularly in The Guardian, The New Republic, and more.

The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be presented on March 16 at the New School in New York City. The complete list of NBCC Award finalists for the publishing year 2016 is as follows:


Marion Coutts, The Iceberg (Black Cat Press)

Jenny Diski, In Gratitude (Bloomsbury)

Hope Jahren, Lab Girl (Alfred A. Knopf)

Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between (Random House)

Kao Kalia Yang, The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father (Metropolitan Books)


Nigel Cliff, Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story (Harper)

Ruth Franklin, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright)

Joe Jackson, Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Michael Tisserand, Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White (Harper)

Frances Wilson, Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Carol Anderson, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (Bloomsbury)

Mark Greif, Against Everything: Essays (Pantheon)

Alice Kaplan, Looking for The Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic (University of Chicago Press)

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (Picador)

Peter Orner, Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live (Catapult)


Michael Chabon, Moonglow (Harper)

Louise Erdrich, LaRose (Harper)

Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone (Little, Brown)

Ann Patchett, Commonwealth (Harper)

Zadie Smith, Swing Time (Penguin Press)


Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown)

Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation Books)

Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Doubleday)

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (Harvard University Press)

John Edgar Wideman, Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File (Scribner)


Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Tyehimba Jess, Olio (Wave Books)

Bernadette Mayer, Works and Days (New Directions)

Robert Pinsky, At the Foundling Hospital (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Monica Youn, Blackacre (Graywolf Press)


Michelle Dean


Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf)


Margaret Atwood