The National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of its annual literary awards tonight, with Ling Ma, Isaac Butler, and Hua Hsu among the authors taking home the prizes.
The winners were revealed at an event in New York, the first in-person awards ceremony for the NBCC since 2019.
Ma won the fiction prize for her short story collection, Bliss Montage, which also won the Story Prize last week. Ma’s collection is her follow-up to Severance, her debut novel, which won the Kirkus Prize for fiction in 2018.
Butler was named the winner in the nonfiction category for The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned To Act, while Hsu took home the autobiography prize for Stay True: A Memoir.
Winning the biography prize was Beverly Gage for G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century. Earlier Tuesday, it was announced that Gage’s book had won the New-York Historical Society’s Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize.
Timothy Bewes was named the winner in the criticism category for Free Indirect: The Novel in a Postfictional Age, while Cynthia Cruz won the poetry award for Hotel Oblivion. The NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, given to an outstanding first book in any genre, went to Morgan Talty for Night of the Living Rez.
The first-ever Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, named after the late playwright, journalist, and NBCC board member, was awarded to Grey Bees, written by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov and translated by Boris Dralyuk.
The NBCC also honored four previously announced winners: Joy Harjo, who won the ??Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award; City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, which won the Toni Morrison Achievement Award; Jennifer Wilson, winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing; and Barbara Hoffert, who was named the winner of the first-ever NBCC Service Award.
The awards, which were voted on by the members of the National Book Critics Circle’s board of directors, date back to 1976. Recent winners have included Edwidge Danticat for Everything Inside, Patrick Radden Keefe for Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, and Zadie Smith for Feel Free.
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.