The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for their annual literary awards, with the shortlists including Colson Whitehead, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Clint Smith and Patrick Radden Keefe.
The organization, consisting of more than 600 critics and book critics, announced the shortlists for the prizes on Thursday evening during a virtual ceremony.
whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle and Jeffers’ The love songs of WEB Du Boisboth Kirkus Prize Finalistswere named finalists in the fiction category along with Joshua Cohen’s The NetanyahusRachel Cusk’s Second placeand Sarah Hall’s burnt jacket†
Smith’s How the word is passed on and Radden Keefe’s Realm of pain made the non-fiction shortlist alongside Joshua Prager’s The Roe . familySam Quinones’ The least of usand that of Rebecca Solnit Orwell’s Roses†
In autobiography, the finalists were Hanif Abdurraqib’s A little devil in America† Jeremy Atherton Lin’s gay bar† Rodrigo Garcia’s Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes† Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A ghost in the throatand Albert Samahas concept†
Making the biography shortlist were Susan Bernofsky for clairvoyant of the smallKeisha N. Blain for Until I’m freeRebecca Donner for All the common problems of our timeMark Harris for Mike Nicholsand Alexander Nemerov for fierce attitude†
In the critique, the finalists were Melissa Febos’ GirlhoodJenny Diskis Why didn’t you just do as you were told?Jesse McCarthys Who will pay reparations for my soul?Mark McGurl’s everything and lessand Amia Srinivasan’s The right to sex†
Finalists in the poetry category were BK Fischer’s CeiveDonika Kelly’s the renunciationsRajiv Mohabir’s cutlishCheswayo Mphanza’s The Rhine Heart Framesand Diane Seuss’ frank: sonnets†
The shortlist for the John Leonard Prize, awarded to the best first book in any genre, included Ashley C. Ford’s memoirs, someone’s daughter† Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s Fiction Collection, My Monticello† The novel by Torrey Peters, Detransition baby† The Memoirs of Larissa Pham, pop song† Anthony Veasna So’s Story Collection, After parties† and Devon Walker-Figueroa’s collection of poems, Filomath†
The organization also announced the winners of three special prizes. Critic Merve Emre was named winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.
The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award went to novelist Percival Everett, and the inaugural Toni Morrison Achievement Award, presented to an institution that has made significant contributions to literary culture, went to the Cave Canem Foundation, a non-profit poetry organization. .
The winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards will be announced in a virtual ceremony on March 17.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and a regular contributor to NPR.