The National Book Critics Circle selected award finalists in six categories and announced three other prize winners Tuesday, but managed to miss one of the biggest books of 2016.
“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead has already won the National Book Award for fiction and been an Oprah pick — but it wasn’t among the five finalists for fiction in the running for the NBCC Awards, announced today.
What books did make the NBCC’s fiction list? “Moonglow” by Michael Chabon, “LaRose” by Louise Erdrich, “Imagine Me Gone” by Adam Haslett, “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett and “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith.
In its general nonfiction category, another National Book Award winnner, Ibram X. Kendi’s “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” did make the finalist list, where it is competing against The Times’ critic at large Viet Thanh Nguyen’s “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War,” among other titles.
The prizes will be awarded March 16 at a ceremony at the New School in New York City, along with three other awards announced today. The Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement will go to Margaret Atwood; the Nona Balakian citation for excellence in reviewing to Michelle Dean, who has contributed to The Times; and the John Leonard Prize for a first book to Yaa Gyasi for her novel “Homegoing.”
The NBCC is made up of 1,000 working book critics and editors from across the country. Its finalists in six categories — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, criticism and autobiography — are selected by an elected 24-member board, which also selects the winners.
The complete list of finalists is below.
Michael Chabon, “Moonglow” (Harper)
Louise Erdrich, “LaRose” (Harper)
Adam Haslett, “Imagine Me Gone” (Little, Brown)
Ann Patchett, “Commonwealth” (Harper)
Zadie Smith, “Swing Time” (Penguin Press)
Matthew Desmond, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” (Crown)
Ibram X. Kendi, “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” (Nation Books)
Jane Mayer, “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” (Doubleday)
Viet Thanh Nguyen, “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War” (Harvard University Press)
John Edgar Wideman, “Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File” (Scribner)
Ishion Hutchinson, “House of Lords and Commons” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Tyehimba Jess, “Olio” (Wave Books)
Bernadette Mayer, “Works and Days” (New Directions)
Robert Pinsky, “At the Foundling Hospital” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Monica Youn, “Blackacre” (Graywolf Press)
Marion Coutts, “The Iceberg” (Black Cat Press)
Jenny Diski, “In Gratitude” (Bloomsbury)
Hope Jahren, “Lab Girl” (Alfred A. Knopf)
Hisham Matar, “The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between” (Random House)
Kao Kalia Yang, “The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father” (Metropolitan Books)
Nigel Cliff, “Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story” (Harper)
Ruth Franklin, “Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life” (Liveright)
Joe Jackson, “Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Michael Tisserand, “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White” (Harper)
Frances Wilson, “Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Carol Anderson, “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” (Bloomsbury)
Mark Greif, “Against Everything: Essays” (Pantheon)
Alice Kaplan, “Looking for The Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic” (University of Chicago Press)
Olivia Laing, “The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone” (Picador)
Peter Orner, “Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live” (Catapult)