The National Book Critics Circle has announced the recipients of its annual book awards, honoring works published in 2019. Due to an outbreak in New York City of Covid-19, the ceremony originally planned for this evening at the New School in New York City was canceled, and the winners were announced remotely.
Edwidge Danticat’s story collection Everything Inside (Knopf) was awarded the NBCC prize for fiction. Other winners include Josh Levin’s The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth (Little, Brown), which won the biography prize; and Chanel Miller’s Know My Name: A Memoir (Viking) has been awarded the prize for autobiography.
In addition, Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing: The True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Doubleday) was awarded the nonfiction prize. Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (W.W. Norton) won the NBCC award for criticism. And Morgan Parker’s Magical Negro (Tin House) won the poetry prize.
The NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, awarded to an outstanding book of any genre, was presented to Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House: A Memoir (Grove), which also won the 2019 National Book Award. The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, presented to an NBCC member for outstanding critical work, was awarded to Katy Waldman, a staff writer at The New Yorker. (The award includes a $1,000 cash prize.)
The recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award was Naomi Shihab Nye, the poet, novelist, songwriter, and Arab American advocate. Her books include The Tiny Journalist (2019) and Red Suitcase (1994). Nye is the first Arab American to be named the Young People’s Poet Laureate.
Notable this year is that, of the seven awards, four were awarded to black women authors. The NBCC Board plans to honor the winners and finalists at a gala in New York on September 12.
This story has been updated with further information.