NBCC, NBA — What’s the Difference?

The National Book Critics Circle Award nominees have been announced.  And, rather suspiciously, it resembles the National Book Award nominees.  Will Vollmann garner another win?  Or will it be Mary Gaitskill this time?  Personally, I feel very sorry for all the non-Didion nominees in the autobiography section. Here’s the full slate:


  • E.L. Doctorow, The March
  • Mary Gaitskill, Veronica
  • Andrea Levy, Small Island
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
  • William T. Vollmann, Europe Central


  • Svetlana Alexievich, Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
  • Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
  • Ellen Meloy, Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild
  • Caroline Moorehead, Human Cargo: A Journey Among Refugees
  • Anthony Shadid, Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War


  • Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Carolyn Burke, Lee Miller: A Life
  • Jonathan Coe, Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B.S. Johnson
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  • Ron Powers, Mark Twain: A Life


  • Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Francine du Plessix Gray, Them: A Memoir of Parents
  • Judith Moore, Fat Girl: A True Story
  • Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: Memories and the City
  • Vikram Seth, Two Lives


  • Hal Crowther, Gather at the River: Notes from the Post-millennial South
  • Arthur Danto, Unnatural Wonders
  • William Logan, The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin
  • John Updike, Still Looking: Essays on American Art
  • Eliot Weinberger, What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles


  • Simon Armitage, The Shout
  • Manuel Blas de Luna, Bent to Earth
  • Jack Gilbert, Refusing Heaven
  • Richard Siken, Crush
  • Ron Slate, The Incentive of the Maggot
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One Comment

  1. I don’t think that three out of five fiction nominees and ONE nonfiction book shifted over into the memoir category really constitutes resembling the NBA slate. None of the NBCC’s nonfiction titles were in the NBA shortlist; likewise, the NBCC’s poetry selection is entirely different.

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