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    Here are the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Award finalists.

    Literary Hub

    January 25, 2024, 9:00am

    Today, the National Book Critics Circle announced its 30 finalists for the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Awards, which celebrate the best books of the year in six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, general nonfiction, and poetry. The finalists for the John Leonard Prize for best first book and the inaugural Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize were also announced.

    The NBCC Service Award was awarded to Marion Winik, and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing was awarded to Becca Rothfeld. The recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award is Judy Blume, and the recipient of the Toni Morrison Achievement Award is the American Library Association.

    “This year’s remarkable and uncompromising finalists delve into subjects as diverse as adoption, authorial identity, cultural disruption, mythmaking, and the banal,” said NBCC President Heather Scott Partington, in a press release. “Many tell stories that have previously been silenced or ignored. Our Sandrof Life Achievement Award and Morrison Achievement Award winners Judy Blume and the ALA exemplify how literacy and literary access lead to liberation. What a beautiful year for books.”

    The 2023 awards will be presented on March 21, 2024 at the New School in New York City. Until then, here are the finalists:


    Susan Ito, I Would Meet You Anywhere: A Memoir (The Ohio State University Press)

    David Mas Masumoto, with artwork by Patricia Wakida, Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm (Red Hen Press)

    Ahmed Naji, Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison, translated by Katharine Halls (McSweeney’s)

    Safiya Sinclair, How to Say Babylon: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster)

    Matthew Zapruder, Story of a Poem: A Memoir (Unnamed Press)



    Jonathan Eig, King: A Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Gregg Hecimovich, The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of the Bondwoman’s Narrative (Ecco)

    Yunte Huang, Daughter of the Dragon: Anna May Wong’s Rendezvous with American History (Liveright)

    Rachel Shteir, Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disruptor (Yale University Press)

    Jonny Steinberg, Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage (Knopf)



    Nicholas Dames, The Chapter: A Segmented History from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press)

    Myriam Gurba, Creep: Accusations and Confessions (Avid Reader Press)

    Naomi Klein, Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Grace E. Lavery, Pleasure and Efficacy: Of Pen Names, Cover Versions, and Other Trans Techniques (Princeton University Press)

    Tina Post, Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression (NYU Press)



    Teju Cole, Tremor (Random House)

    Daniel Mason, North Woods (Random House)

    Lorrie Moore, I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home (Knopf)

    Marie NDiaye, Vengeance Is Mine, translated by Jordan Stump (Knopf)

    Justin Torres, Blackouts (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)



    Roxanna Asgarian, We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Kerry Howley, Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs (Knopf)

    Christina Sharpe, Ordinary Notes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Jeff Sharlet, The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War (W. W. Norton)

    Dina Nayeri, Who Gets Believed? When the Truth Isn’t Enough (Catapult Books)



    Saskia Hamilton, All Souls (Graywolf Press)

    Kim Hyesoon, Phantom Pain Wings, translated by Don Mee Choi (New Directions)

    Romeo Oriogun, The Gathering of Bastards (University of Nebraska Press)

    Robyn Schiff, Information Desk (Penguin Books)

    Charif Shanahan, Trace Evidence (Tin House)



    Kareem Abdulrahman’s translation of The Last Pomegranate Tree by Bachtyar Ali (Archipelago Books)

    Natascha Bruce’s translation of Owlish by Dorothy Tse (Graywolf Press)

    Don Mee Choi’s translation of Phantom Pain Wings by Kim Hyesoon (New Directions)

    Todd Fredson’s translation of Zakwato & Loglêdou’s Peril by Azo Vauguy (Action Books)

    Maureen Freely’s translation of Cold Nights of Childhood by Tezer Özlü (Transit Books)

    Tiffany Tsao’s translation of Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu (Feminist Press)



    Ariana Benson, Black Pastoral (University of Georgia Press)

    Emilie Boone, A Nimble Arc: James Van Der Zee and Photography (Duke University Press)

    Victor Heringer, The Love of Singular Men, translated by James Young (New Directions)

    Tahir Hamut Izgil, Waiting to Be Arrested at Night: a Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide, translated by Joshua L. Freeman (Penguin Press)

    Donovan X. Ramsey, When Crack Was King (One World)

    Martin J. Siegel, Judgment and Mercy: The Turbulent Life and Times of the Judge Who Condemned the Rosenbergs (Cornell University Press)

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