National Book Critics noms announced

While Katherine Heigl and Nikki Blonksy moan that no Golden Globes party means no excuse for a girly dress-up day, I remain annoyed that we’ve never seen a glitzy, televised event celebrating books and their authors. Who wouldn’t want to see Walter Kirn negotiating the red carpet? Or Susan Faludi gabbing about jewels with Joan Rivers? Alas, the loss the stars suffered on Sunday, forced to stay at home, is something we book lovers are well used to. It was weird, actually, searching the ‘net for Golden Globe winners like a scavenger trying to find out who won the Giller Prize. (It was Elizabeth Hay and she won for Late Nights on Air.)

If book awards need glitz, then the National Book Critics Awards has some to share — I believe winners get a gold sticker on their dust jackets. Nominees were announced this week. Winners will be announced March 6.


Joyce Carol Oates for The Gravedigger’s Daughter

Vikram Chandra for Sacred Games

Junot Diaz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Hisham Matar for In the Country of Men

Marianne Wiggins for The Shadow Catcher


Philip Gura for American Transcendentalism

Daniel Walker Howe for What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848

Harriet Washington for Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present

Tim Weiner for Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

Alan Weisman for The World Without Us


Tim Jeal for Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer

Hermione Lee for Edith Wharton

Arnold Rampersad for Ralph Ellison

John Richardson for A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932

Claire Tomalin for Thomas Hardy


Joshua Clark for Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone

Edwidge Danticat for Brother, I’m Dying

Sara Paretsky for Writing in an Age of Silence

Anna Politkovskaya for Russian Diary: A Journalist’s Final Account of Life, Corruption and Death in Putin’s Russia

Joyce Carol Oates for The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973-1982


Mary Jo Bang for Elegy

Matthea Harvey for Modern Life

Michael O’Brien for Sleeping and Waking

Tom Pickard for The Ballad of Jamie Allan

Tadeusz Rozewicz for New Poems


Joan Acocella for Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints

(Re:Print favourite) Julia Alvarez for Once Upon a Quinceanera

Susan Faludi for The Terror Dream

Ben Ratliff for Coltrane: The Story of a Sound

Alex Ross for The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century


Brooke Allen

Ron Charles

Walter Kirn

Adam Kirsch

The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Emilie Buchwald, writer, editor and publisher of Milkweed Editions.