A Little Background on the National Book Critic’s Circle

Written by Madalyn Campbell

Last week, Publishers Weekly wrote about the finalists that were announced by the National Book Critic’s Circle (NBCC). The list includes thirty names for its 2017 awards and three additional recipients of other prizes. So, what is the NBCC?

The National Book Critic’s Circle is the professional association of American literary critics. The NBCC was formed in 1974, at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. The hotel previously housed the Algonquin Round Table, an infamous group of writers, critics, and actors who dubbed themselves the “Vicious Circle.” The NBCC was founded with the intent of creating a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature. Their awards were first created in 1976, and  they consist of six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. For a book to qualify, it must have been published in the previous calendar year, in English. Reprints and new editions are not considered; translations, however, are. The twenty-four judges are members of the NBCC who serve three-year terms on the voting board.

The winners will be announced on March 15th at a ceremony at the New School in New York.

Nonfiction:

  • Jack Davis, Gulf: The Making of An American Sea (Liveright/Norton)
  • Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Scribner)
  • Masha Gessen, The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead)
  • Kapka Kassabova, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe (Graywolf)
  • Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (The Experiment)

Biography:

Autobiography:

Poetry:

  • Nuar Alsadir, Fourth Person Singular (Oxford University Press)
  • James Longenbach, Earthling (Norton)
  • Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (Graywolf)
  • Frank Ormsby, The Darkness of Snow (Wake Forest University Press)
  • Ana Ristović, Directions for Use (Zephyr Press)

Criticism:

Fiction:

 

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