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NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS

National Book Critics Circle Awards

The National Book Critics Circle, consisting of nearly 700 active book reviewers, each year presents awards for the best book in five categories: fiction, general nonfiction, biography/autobiography, poetry, and criticism. Prior to 1997, the award was limited to American citizens, when the eligibility rules were changed to include all authors of the best books published in the United States, regardless of nationality.

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2008

 Fiction: Roberto Bolaño 2666
General Nonfiction: Dexter Filkins The Forever War
Memoir/Autobiography: 2007
Biography: Patrick French The World is What it is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul
Poetry: Juan Felipe Herrera Half the World in Light and
             August Kleinzahler Sleeping it Off in Rapid City
Criticism: Seth Lerer Children’s Literature: A Readers’ History: Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter

2007

 Fiction: Junot Diaz The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
General Nonfiction: Harriet A. Washington Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present
Memoir/Autobiography: Edwidge Danticat Brother, I'm Dying
Biography: Tim Jeal Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer
Poetry: Mary Jo Bang Elegy
Criticism: Alex Ross The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

2006

 Fiction: Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss
General Nonfiction: Simon Schama Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution
Memoir/Autobiography: Daniel Mendelsohn The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million
Biography: Julie Phillips James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon
Poetry: Troy Jollimore Tom Thomson in Purgatory
Criticism: Lawrence Weschler Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences

2005

 Fiction: E.L. Doctorow The March
General Nonfiction: Svetlana Alexievich Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
Memoir/Autobiography: Francine du Plessix Gray Them: A Memoir of Parents
Biography: Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Poetry: Jack Gilbert Refusing Heaven
Criticism: William Logan The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin

2004

 Fiction: Marilynne Robinson Gilead
General Nonfiction: Diarmaid MacCulloch The Reformation: A History
Biography/Autobiography: Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan De Kooning: An American Master
Poetry: Adrienne Rich The School Among the Ruins
Criticism: Patrick Neate Where You're At: Notes From the Frontline of a Hip-Hop Planet

2003

 Fiction: Edward P. Jones The Known World
General Nonfiction: Paul Hendrickson Sons of Mississippi
Biography/Autobiography: William Taubman Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
Poetry: Susan Stewart Columbarium
Criticism: Rebecca Solnit River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

2002

 Fiction: Ian McEwan Atonement
General Nonfiction: Samantha Power A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
Biography/Autobiography: Janet Browne Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, Vol. II
Poetry: B.H. Fairchild Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest
Criticism: William H. Gass Tests of Time

2001

 Fiction: Austerlitz, W.G. Sebald
General Nonfiction: Double Ford: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, Nicholson Baker
Biography/Autobiography: Boswell's Presumptuous Task: The Making of the Life of Dr. Johnson, Adam Sisman
Poetry: Saving Lives, Albert Goldbarth
Criticism: The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews, 1971-2000, Martin Amis

 2000

Fiction: Being Dead, Jim Crace
General Nonfiction: Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, Ted Conover
Biography/Autobiography: Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Herbert P. Bix
Poetry: Carolina Ghost Woods, Judy Jordan
Criticism: Quarrel & Quandary, Cynthia Ozick

 1999

Fiction: Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem
General Nonfiction: Time, Love, Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior, Jonathan Weiner
Biography/Autobiography: The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White, Henry Wiencek
Poetry: Ordinary Works, Ruth Stone
Criticism: Selected Non-Fictions, Jorge Louis Borges

 1998

Fiction: The Love of a Good Woman, Alice Munro
General Nonfiction: We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, Philip Gourevitch
Biography/Autobiography: A Beautiful Mind, Sylvia Nasar
Poetry:The Bird Catcher, Marie Ponsot
Criticism:Visions of Jazz: The First Century, Gary Giddons

 1997

Fiction: The Blue Flower, Penelope Fitzgerald
General Nonfiction: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman
Biography/Autobiography: Ernie Pyle's War, James E. Tobin
Poetry: Black Zodiac, Charles Wright
Criticism: Making Waves, Mario Vargas Llosa

 1996

Fiction: Women in Their Beds, Gina Berriault
General Nonfiction: Bad Land, Jonathan Raban
Biography/Autobiography: Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt
Poetry: Sun Under Wood, Robert Hass
Criticism: Finding a Form, William Gass

 1995

Fiction: Mrs. Ted Bliss, Stanley Elkin
General Nonfiction: A Civil Action, Jonathon Harr
Biography/Autobiography: Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson, Robert Polito
Poetry: Time and Money, William Matthews
Criticism: The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, Robert Darnton

 1994

Fiction: The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields
General Nonfiction: The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War, Lynn H. Nicholas
Biography/Autobiography: Shot in the Heart, Mikal Gilmore
Poetry: Rider, Mark Rudman
Criticism: The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature and Modern American Culture, Gerald Early

 1993

Fiction: A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines
General Nonfiction: The Land Where the Blues Began, Alan Lomax
Biography/Autobiography: Genet, Edmund White
Poetry: My Alexandria, Mark Doty
Criticism: Opera in America: A Cultural History, John Dizikes

 1992

Fiction: All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
General Nonfiction: Young Men and Fire, Norman Maclean
Biography/Autobiography: Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World, Carol Brightman
Poetry: Collected Shorter Poems 1946-1991, Hayden Carruth
Criticism: Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America, Garry Wills

 1991

Fiction: A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
General Nonfiction: Backlash: The Undeclared War Against America Women, Susan Faludi
Biography/Autobiography: Patrimony: A True Story, Philip Roth
Poetry: Heaven and Earth: A Cosmology, Albert Goldbarth
Criticism: Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory, Lawrence L. Langer

 1990

Fiction: Rabbit at Rest, John Updike
General Nonfiction: The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America, Shelby Steele
Biography/Autobiography: Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. II, Robert A. Caro
Poetry: Bitter Angel, Amy Gerstler
Criticism: Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present, Arthur C. Danto

 1989

Fiction: Billy Bathgate, E.L. Doctorow
General Nonfiction: The Broken Cord, Michael Dorris
Biography/Autobiography: A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, Geoffrey C. Ward
Poetry: Transparent Gestures, Rodney Jones
Criticism: Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History, John Clive

 1988

Fiction: The Middleman and Other Stories, Bharati Mukherjee
General Nonfiction: Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, Taylor Branch
Biography/Autobiography: Oscar Wilde, Richard Ellman
Poetry: That One Day, Donald Hall
Criticism: Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author, Clifford Geertz

 1987

Fiction: The Counterlife, Philip Roth
General Nonfiction: The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes
Biography/Autobiography: Chaucer: His Life, His Works, His World, Donald R. Howard
Poetry: Flesh and Blood, C.K. Williams
Criticism: Dance Writings, Edwin Denby, edited by Robert Cornfield and William MacKay

 1986

Fiction: Kate Vaiden, Reynolds Price
General Nonfiction: War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, John W. Dower
Biography/Autobiography: Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter, Theodore Rosengarten
Poetry: Wild Gratitude, Edward Hirsch
Criticism: Less Than One: Selected Essays, Joseph Brodsky

 1985

Fiction: The Accidental Tourist, Anne Tyler
General Nonfiction: Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families, J. Anthony Lukas
Biography/Autobiography: Henry James: A Life, Leon Edel
Poetry: The Triumph of Achilles, Louise Gluck
Criticism: Habitations of the Word: Essays, William H. Gass

 1984

Fiction: Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich
General Nonfiction: Weapons and Hope, Freeman Dyson
Biography/Autobiography: Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859, Joseph Frank
Poetry: The Dead and the Living, Sharon Olds
Criticism: Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry, Robert Hass

 1983

Fiction: Ironweed, William Kennedy
General Nonfiction: The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, Seymour M. Hersch
Biography/Autobiography: Minor Characters, Joyce Johnson
Poetry: The Changing Light at Sandover, James Merrill
Criticism: Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism, John Updike

 1982

Fiction: George Mills, Stanley Elkin
General Nonfiction: The Path of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro
Poetry: Antarctic Traveler, Katha Pollitt
Criticism: The Second American Revolution and Other Essays, Gore Vidal

 1981

Fiction: Rabbit Is Rich, John Updike
General Nonfiction: The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould
Poetry:
A Coast of Trees, A.R. Ammons
Criticism: A Virgil Thomson Reader, Virgil Thomson

1980

Fiction: Shirley Hazzard The Transit Of Venus
General Nonfiction: Ronald Steel Walter Lippmann and the American Century
Criticism: Helen Vendler Part of Nature, Part of Us: Modern American Poets
Poetry: Frederick Seidel Sunrise

1979

Fiction: Thomas Flanagan The Year of the French
General Nonfiction: Telford Taylor Munich: The Price of Peace
Criticism: Elaine Pagels The Gnostic Gospels
Poetry: Philip Levine
 Ashes: Poems New and Old and 7 Years From Somewhere

1978

Fiction: John Cheever The Stories of John Cheever
General Nonfiction: Maureen Howard Facts of Life
Criticism: Meyer Schapiro Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries (Selected Papers, Volume 2)
Poetry: L. E. Sissman Hello, Darkness: The Collected Poems of L. E. Sissman

1977

Fiction: Toni Morrison Song Of Solomon
General Nonfiction: Walter Jackson Bate Samuel Johnson
Criticism: Susan Sontag On Photography
Poetry: Robert Lowell Day by Day

1976

Fiction: John Gardner October Light
General Nonfiction: Maxine Hong Kingston The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts
Criticism: Bruno Bettelheim The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance and Importance of Fairy Tales
Poetry: Elizabeth Bishop Geography III

1975

Fiction: E.L. Doctorow Ragtime
General Nonfiction: R. W. B. Lewis Edith Wharton: A Biography
Criticism: Paul Fussell The Great War and Modern Memory
Poetry: John Ashberry Self-Portrait in A Convex Mirror

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