February 1-15, 2005 Edition

National Book Critics

Circle Chooses

Award Nominees

01/20/05—The nominees for the National Book Critics Circle awards for the publishing year 2004 in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, biography/autobiography, criticism, and poetry have been selected. The winners will be announced this March at the organization’s 31st annual awards ceremony.

At the ceremony, the National Book Critics Circle will also give the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award to Louis D. Rubin, Jr., the founder of Algonquin Press and the author and editor of over 50 books.

In addition, the National Book Critics Circle will award its Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing to David Orr, a contributor to the New York Times Book Review and Poetry magazine. The award, named after a longtime supporter of the organization, is given annually to a member who has demonstrated high critical standards in his or her work. The finalists included Stacey D’Erasmo, Claire Dederer, Andrew O’Hagan, Thomas Powers and Stacy Schiff.

The awards ceremony will take place on Friday, March 18, at the auditorium of the New School, 66 West 12 Street, at 6:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. A gala follows directly at the New School and costs $40. Nominees will read from their works at an event held Thursday, March 17, also at the New School’s auditorium, at 6:00 p.m. This is also free and open to the public.

The National Book Critics Circle is a not-for-profit organization of book editors and critics with some 600 members nationwide. The organization was founded in 1974 to encourage and raise the quality of book criticism in all media and to create a way for critics to communicate with one another about their professional concerns. The NBCC has a Website at

Last year’s National Book Critics Circle winners were Edward P. Jones’s The Known World (fiction); Paul Hendrickson’s Ghosts of Mississippi (nonfiction); Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, by William Taubman (biography/autobiography); Columbarium, by Susan Stewart (poetry); and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, by Rebecca Solnit (criticism).

A complete list of this year’s nominees follows.


Edwidge Danticat, The Dew Breaker (Knopf) Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty (Bloomsbury) David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (Random House) Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (Houghton Mifflin)

General Nonfiction

Kevin Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age (Holt) Edward Conlon, Blue Blood (Riverhead) Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History (Viking) David Shipler, The Working Poor: Invisible in America (Knopf) Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story (Crown)


Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (Penguin Press) Bob Dylan, Chronicles Vol. 1 (Simon & Schuster) Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (Norton) John Guy, Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (Houghton Mifflin) Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, De Kooning: An American Master (Knopf)


Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard (BOA Editions) D.A. Powell, Cocktails (Graywolf) Adrienne Rich, The School Among the Ruins (Norton) James Richardson, Interglacial (Ausable Press) Gary Snyder, Danger on Peaks (Shoemaker & Hoard)


Richard Howard, Paper Trail: Selected Prose 1965-2003 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Patrick Neate, Where You’re At: Notes From the Frontline of a Hip-Hop Planet (Riverhead) Graham Robb, Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century (Norton) Craig Seligman, Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me (Counterpoint) James Wood, The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)