(Spiegel & Grau/ )

Between the World and Me,” the critically acclaimed book about racism in America by ­Ta-Nehisi Coates, has been named a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Coates’s book, which won a National Book Award in November , is one of 30 titles contending for NBCC ­prizes.

Among the other finalists announced Monday afternoon are “Fates and Furies,” Lauren Groff’s novel about a deceptive marriage; “SPQR,” Mary Beard’s history of Rome; and “H Is for Hawk,” Helen Macdonald’s memoir.

The winners in the six literary categories — fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, biography, criticism and poetry — will be announced March 17 at the New School in New York. But the winners of two annual NBCC citations were announced Monday: Environmental activist and writer Wendell Berry, 81, won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and Washington Post nonfiction critic Carlos ­Lozada won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

Washington native Anthony Marra , who won the NBCC’s John Leonard First Book Prize in 2014 for “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena ,” is a finalist this year in the fiction category for his story collection, “The Tsar of Love and Techno.”

The NBCC finalists reflect a year of heightened interest in race and racism in America. Along with Coates’s “Between the World and Me,” the judges also chose Paul Beatty’s satirical novel “The Sellout ,” Ari Berman’s “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America ,” Jill Leovy’s “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America ” and Margo Jefferson’s memoir, “Negroland.”

(Riverhead )

Three of the finalists in the poetry category — collections by Ross Gay, Terrance Hayes and Ada Limón — also were finalists for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry.

Founded in 1974, the nonprofit NBCC has almost 700 members. The board chooses the finalists and winners of the annual prizes, except for the recipient of the John Leonard First Book Prize, which is selected by the membership at large.

(To read The Post’s reviews, click on the authors’ names, where highlighted.)


“The Sellout,” by Paul Beatty (FSG)

“Fates and Furies,” by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)

“The Story of My Teeth,” by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House)


“The Tsar of Love and Techno,” by Anthony Marra (Hogarth)

“Eileen,” by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press)


“SPQR: A History of Rome,” by Mary Beard (Liveright)

“Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” by Ari Berman (FSG)

“Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America,” by Jill Leovy (Spiegel & Grau)

“Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” by Sam Quinones (Bloomsbury)

“What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing,” by Brian Seibert (FSG)


“The Light of the World,” by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central)

“The Odd Woman and the City,” by Vivian Gornick (FSG)

“Bettyville,” by George Hodgman (Viking)

“Negroland,” by Margo Jefferson (Pantheon)

“H Is for Hawk,” by Helen Macdonald (Grove)


“Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth,” by Terry Alford (Oxford)

“Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley,” by Charlotte Gordon (Random House)

“Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America,” by T.J. Stiles (Knopf)

“Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva,” by Rosemary Sullivan (Harper)

“Dietrich and Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives,” by Karin Wieland and Shelly Frisch (Liveright)


“Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)

“Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake,” by Leo Damrosch (Yale)

“The Argonauts,” by Maggie Nelson (Graywolf)

“On Elizabeth Bishop,” by Colm Tóibín (Princeton)

“The Nearest Thing to Life,” by James Wood (Brandeis)


“Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” by Ross Gay (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press)

“How to Be Drawn,” by Terrance Hayes (Penguin)

“Bright Dead Things,” by Ada Limón (Milkweed)

“Parallax: and Selected Poems,” by Sinéad Morrissey (FSG)

“What About This: Collected Poems,” by Frank Stanford (Copper Canyon)

John Leonard First Book Prize

“Night at the Fiestas,” by Kirstin Valdez Quade (Norton)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

Winner: Carlos Lozada

Finalists: Ruth Franklin, James Parker, Leo Robson, Roxana Robinson

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

Wendell Berry

Ron Charles is a board member of the NBCC.