Jesmyn Ward Portrait Session

Source: Ulf Andersen / Getty

The National Book Critics Circle—a literary nonprofit organization with close to 600 members—has been “honoring outstanding writing and fostering a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature” since 1974. This year’s list of nominees includes the likes of Roxane Gay, Jesmyn Ward, among other notable authors (hey, Mohsin Hamed). Winners won’t be announced until the ceremony at the New School on March 15, but you can check out the 30 finalists below thanks to the folks at Publishers Weekly.

Nonfiction:

Jack Davis, Gulf: The Making of An American Sea (Liveright/Norton)

Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Scribner)

Masha Gessen, The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead)

Kapka Kassabova, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe (Graywolf)

Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (The Experiment)

Biography:

Caroline Fraser, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Metropolitan)

Edmund Gordon, The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography (Oxford)

Howard Markel, The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek (Pantheon)

William Taubman, Gorbachev: His Life and Times (Norton)

Kenneth Whyte, Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (Knopf)

Autobiography:

Thi Bui, The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Abrams)

Roxane Gay, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Harper)

Henry Marsh, Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon (St. Martins)

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, The Girl from the Metropol Hotel: Growing Up in Communist Russia (Penguin)

Xioulu Guo, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China (Grove)

Poetry:

Nuar Alsadir, Fourth Person Singular (Oxford University Press)

James Longenbach, Earthling (Norton)

Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (Graywolf)

Frank Ormsby, The Darkness of Snow (Wake Forest University Press)

Ana Ristović, Directions for Use (Zephyr Press)

Criticism:

Carina Chocano, You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages (Mariner)

Edwidge Danticat, The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story (Graywolf)

Camille Dungy, Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History (W.W. Norton)

Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions (Coffee House)

Kevin Young, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News (Graywolf)

Fiction:

Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Riverhead)

Alice McDermott, The Ninth Hour (FSG)

Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Knopf)

Joan Silber, Improvement (Counterpoint)

Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner)

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