The second annual National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced last night after a meeting of the group's board of directors at New York's Algonquin Hotel.

The fiction award went to John Gardner's novel "October Light," a philosophical story of the hate and love between an aged brother and sister living on a mountaintop farm in Vermont.

The award for poetry was given to "Geography III," by Elizabeth Bishop, whose "North and South - A Cold Spring" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1955. Her work has been acclaimed for avision that is both penetrating and detached. Her poems often begin by observing familiar objects and events, then wring from them a surprising passion.

The winner of the award for general nonfiction is "The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts," by Maxine Hong Kingston, a story of growing up in a Chinese-American community, caught between two alien and highly sophisticated cultures.

Bruno Bettelheim's "The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales" won the award for criticism.

Three of the four award winners - "October Light," "The Woman Warrior" and "The Uses of Enchantment" were published by Alfred A. Knopf. "Geography III" was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The National Book Critics Circle was founded in 1974 as a nonprofit organization of professional book critics and book reciew editors.The awards program was established in 1975.