Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith Are Among the Finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards

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Zadie Smith Receives WELT-Literaturpreis 2016 In Berlin
Photo: Brian Dowling/Getty Images

The finalists have been announced for this year’s National Book Critics Circle Awards. In the nonfiction category, last year’s National Book Award winner, Ibram X. Kendi, is recognized alongside Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, and the fiction section is filled out with literary stars like Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, and Ann Patchett, though Colson Whitehead, who won the National Book Award for The Underground Railroad, was notably absent from the list. Margaret Atwood will also be honored at the upcoming ceremony with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Finalists are selected by a 24-person board within the organizing body, which is comprised of 1,000 literary critics and book review editors, and the winners will be announced on March 16.

Autobiography

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)

Biography

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)

Criticism

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)

Fiction

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)

General Nonfiction

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)

Poetry

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)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

Michelle Dean

John Leonard Prize

Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf)

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

Margaret Atwood

National Book Critics Circle Finalists Revealed