9 December, 2022

National Book Critics Circle Awards Winners

The National Book Critics Circle has announced the winners of their  2016 awards, with Louis Erdrich winning the Fiction award for her novel, LaRose. This is the second time Ms. Erdrich has won the award; she won for her celebrated novel, Love Medicine, in 1984.

Here is the complete list of winners and finalists:


  • WINNER: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • The Iceberg by Marion Coutts
  • In Gratitude by Jenny Diski
  • The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar
  • The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang


  • WINNER: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
  • Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story by Nigel Cliff
  • Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary by Joe Jackson
  • Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand
  • Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey by Frances Wilson


  • WINNER: White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif
  • Looking for The Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic by Alice Kaplan
  • The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing
  • Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live by Peter Orner


  • WINNER: LaRose by Louise Erdrich
  • Moonglow by Michael Chabon
  • Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith


  • WINNER: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
  • Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File by John Edgar Wideman


  • WINNER: House of Lords and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson
  • Olio by Tyehimba Jess
  • Works and Days by Bernadette Mayer
  • At the Foundling Hospital by Robert Pinsky
  • Blackacre by Monica Youn

Additionally, the following awards, which had been previously announced, were handed out:


Ms. Dean’s journalism and criticism appears regularly in The GuardianThe New Republic, and a host of other venues. Originally trained as a lawyer, she has been a full-time writer since 2012. Her book about women critics and intellectuals, titled Sharp: The Women Who Made An Art of Having an Opinion, is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic.

JOHN LEONARD PRIZEYaa Gyasi for Homegoing

The  John Leonard Prize was established to recognize outstanding first books in any genre, named in honor of founding NBCC member John Leonard. Ms. Gyasi received the award for her novel about the descendants of two half-sisters born in Ghana’s coastal Fanteland in the mid-1700s.


Born in 1939 in Ottawa, Ontario, Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, story writer, essayist and environmental activist. She is the author of some 16 novels, eight collections of short stories, eight children’s books, 17 volumes of poetry, 10 collections of nonfiction, as well as small press editions, television and radio scripts, plays, recordings, and editions. Her lifetime contribution to letters and book culture includes groundbreaking fiction, environmental and feminist activism, and service to community as a cofounder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Her books have received critical acclaim in the United States, Europe and her native Canada, and she has received numerous literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Governor General’s Award, twice.

Congratulations to all the winners, and indeed, to all the finalists!