The National Book Critics Circle has announced 30 finalists in six categories––autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry––for the annual National Book Critic Circle Awards.
The honorees of three additional prizes have also been announced. The recipient of the $1,000 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, recognizing outstanding work by a member of the NBCC, is the New Yorker's Katy Waldman. The recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement, given to a person or institution who has made significant contributions to book culture, is poet, novelist, and songwriter Naomi Shihab Nye. The 2019 John Leonard Prize for Best First Book, which is selected by the organization’s membership, goes to Sarah M. Broom for The Yellow House: A Memoir (Grove).
The NBCC awards will be presented March 12 at the New School in New York City. The ceremony is free and open to the public. A reading by the finalists will take place the evening before the awards, on March 11, also for free at the New School.
The NBCC also hosts a fundraising reception following the March 12 awards ceremony. The tickets, $60 for NBCC members when purchased in advance and $85 to the general public, benefit the NBCC, the awards, and the work that the NBCC does year round to promote books, critics, and writers nationwide.
The finalists are as follows:
- Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother’s Disappearance as a Child by Laura Cumming (Scribner)
- Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow (Little, Brown)
- Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman (W. W. Norton)
- Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob (One World)
- Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller (Viking)
- Gods of the Upper Air: How A Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century by Charles King (Doubleday)
- The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth by Josh Levin (Little, Brown)
- L.E.L.: The Lost Life and Scandalous Death of Letitia Elizabeth Landon, the Celebrated “Female Byron” by Lucasta Miller (Knopf)
- Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer (Knopf)
- A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell (Viking)
- Go Ahead in the Rain by Hanif Abdurraqib (University of Texas Press)
- Essays One by Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval by Saidiya Hartman (W.W. Norton)
- Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light, 100 Art Writings 1988-2018 by Peter Schjeldahl (Abrams)
- Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin (Transit Books)
- Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf)
- Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg (Scribner)
- The Topeka School by Ben Lerner (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Knopf)
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
- Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future by Kate Brown (W.W. Norton)
- The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler (Penguin Press)
- Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday)
- Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives by Walt Odets (Farrar, Straus and Girioux)
- No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder (Bloomsbury)