National Book Critics Circle Award Finalists for 2014

The National Book Critics Circle Award finalists for 2014 have just been announced, and it’s a pretty fine list of books and authors. The list includes some luminaries like Marilynne Robinson and Gary Shteyngart, but is notable for including many lesser known and debut authors. Also notable is the near domination of of independent and small presses, with Graywolf Press leading the pack with four nominations (for three books). Tin House, Red Lemonade, Coffee House, Grove, and other indies got nominations as well.

Claudia Rankine’s celebrated book “Citizen” was nominated for both criticism and poetry, and Roz Chast’s graphic memoir was nominated for autobiography.

In addition to the finalists, Toni Morrison won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, Phil Klay won the John Leonard Prize for best debut, and Alexandra Chwartz won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, was awarded to New Yorker Assistant Editor Alexandra Schwartz.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

Blake Bailey, “The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait” (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Roz Chast, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” (Bloomsbury)
Lacy M. Johnson, “The Other Side” (Tin House)
Gary Shteyngart, “Little Failure” (Random House)
Meline Toumani, “There Was and There Was Not” (Metropolitan Books)

BIOGRAPHY:

Ezra Greenspan, “William Wells Brown: An African American Life” (W.W. Norton & Co.)
S.C. Gwynne, “Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson” (Scribner)
John Lahr, “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Ian S. MacNiven, “’Literchoor Is My Beat’: A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Miriam Pawel, “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography” (Bloomsbury)

CRITICISM:

Eula Biss, “On Immunity: An Innoculation” (Graywolf Press)
Vikram Chandra, “Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty” (Graywolf Press)
Claudia Rankine, “Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf Press)
Lynne Tillman, “What Would Lynne Tillman Do?” (Red Lemonade)
Ellen Willis, “The Essential Ellen Willis,” edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press)

FICTION:

Rabih Alameddine, “An Unnecessary Woman” (Grove Press)
Marlon James, “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (Riverhead Books)
Lily King, “Euphoria” (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Chang-rae Lee, “On Such a Full Sea” (Riverhead Books)
Marilynne Robinson, “Lila” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

GENERAL NONFICTION:

David Brion Davis, “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation” (Alfred A. Knopf)
Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book” (Pantheon)
Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” (Henry Holt & Co.)
Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press)
Hector Tobar, “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

POETRY
Saeed Jones, “Prelude to Bruise” (Coffee House Press)
Willie Perdomo, “The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon” (Penguin Books)
Claudia Rankine, “Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf Press)
Christian Wiman, “Once in the West” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Jake Adam York, “Abide” (Southern Illinois University Press)

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