National Book Critics Circle announces 2013 awards finalists


The board of the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2013 awards Monday. There are five finalists each in six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

The NBCC announced the recipients of three additional awards. The John Leonard Prize for First book, awarded for the first time, goes to Antony Marra for his novel “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.” The winner of the 2013 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing goes to critic Katherine A. Powers.

The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Rolando Hinojosa-Smith. An accomplished novelist, translator and essayist, the 84-year old Hinojosa-Smith has also been a mentor and inspiration; he has been called the dean of Chicano authors.


The National Book Critics Circle has more than 600 members; its 24-member board (on which I sit) will vote on the winners of its prizes in March. The 2013 prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in New York on March 13.

The full list of the award finalists is below:

Sonali Deraniyagala, “Wave” (Knopf)
Aleksandar Hemon, “The Book of My Lives” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Rebecca Solnit, “The Faraway Nearby” (Viking)
Jesmyn Ward, “Men We Reaped” (Bloomsbury)
Amy Wilentz, “Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti” (Simon & Schuster)

Scott Anderson, “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East” (Doubleday)
Leo Damrosch, “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World” (Yale University Press)
John Eliot Gardiner, “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven” (Knopf)
Linda Leavell, “Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Mark Thompson, “Birth Certificate: The Story of Danilo Kis” (Cornell University Press)

Hilton Als, “White Girls” (McSweeney’s)
Mary Beard, “Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations” (Liveright)
Jonathan Franzen, “The Kraus Project: Essays by Karl Kraus,” translated and annotated by Jonathan Franzen with Paul Reitter and Daniel Kehlmann (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Janet Malcolm, “Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Franco Moretti, “Distant Reading” (Verso)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Americanah” (Knopf)
Alice McDermott, “Someone” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Javier Marías, “The Infatuations,” translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Knopf)
Ruth Ozeki, “A Tale for the Time Being” (Viking)
Donna Tartt, “The Goldfinch” (Little, Brown)

Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy, “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice” (Norton)
Sheri Fink, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital” (Crown)
David Finkel, “Thank You for Your Service” (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
George Packer, “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Lawrence Wright, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief” (Knopf)

Frank Bidart, “Metaphysical Dog” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Lucie Brock-Broido, “Stay, Illusion” (Knopf)
Denise Duhamel, “Blowout” (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Bob Hicok, “Elegy Owed” (Copper Canyon)
Carmen Gimenez Smith, “Milk and Filth” (University of Arizona Press)

In addition to Katherine A. Powers winning the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, four finalists were announced: Ruth Franklin, James Marcus, Roxana Robinson and Alexandra Schwartz.


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