The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2012 awards – 30 books (Reyna Grande's memoir is pictured at left) are finalists in the six categories in which the NBCC gives awards–autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. One of the most prestigious American literary awards, the NBCCs are the only sole American awards bestowed by working critics and book review editors. Winners will be announced on Thursday, February 28, 2013, at 6p.m. at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York. The list of finalists (and three critics receiving lifetime achievement awards from the NBCC) are below:


Reyna Grande. The Distance Between Us

Maureen N. McLane. My Poets

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Anthony Shadid. House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East

Leanne Shapton. Swimming Studies

Ngugi wa Thiong’o. In the House of the Interpreter


Robert A. Caro. The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Lisa Cohen. All We Know: Three Lives

Michael Gorra. Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece

Lisa Jarnot. Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus: A Biography

Tom Reiss. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo


Paul Elie. Reinventing Bach

Daniel Mendelsohn. Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture

Mary Ruefle. Madness, Rack, and Honey

Marina Warner. Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights

Kevin Young. The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness


Laurent Binet. HHhH. tr. by Sam Taylor

Ben Fountain. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Adam Johnson. The Orphan Master’s Son

Lydia Millet. Magnificence

Zadie Smith. NW


Katherine Boo. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Steve Coll. Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power

Jim Holt. Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story

David Quammen. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Andrew Solomon. Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity


David Ferry. Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations

Lucia Perillo. On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths

Allan Peterson. Fragile Acts

D. A. Powell. Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys

A. E. Stallings. Olives

Nona A. Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: William Deresiewicz

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar