Claudia Rainkine.

Claudia Rankine.

But before we get to the finalists, here are a couple of winners:

Phil Klay, who won the National Book Award for "Redeployment," his story collection about war, was named the winner of the NBCC John Leonard First Book Prize.

Toni Morrison was honored with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, well-deserved for her lifetime of writing and teaching and mentoring. 

Minnesota represents in the finalists, with Macalester College professor Marlon James in the running for a fiction award for "A Brief History of Seven Killings," and Graywolf Press poet Claudia Rankine (a finalist for a National Book Award two months ago) a finalist in two categories--unprecedented in the NBCC awards. (She is a finalist in both poetry and criticism.) Rankine will be in Minnesota next week, speaking at 7:30 p.m. at The College of St. Benedict on Jan. 29 and at the Loft Literary Center at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Graywolf writers Eula Biss and Vikram Chandra are also on the list. The University of Minnesota Press is represented by "The Essential Ellen Willis." And Coffee House Press makes the list with Saeed Jones, “Prelude to Bruise."

Here's the list, with links to Star Tribune reviews when available.  Winners will be announced March 12.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

Blake Bailey, “The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait” (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Roz Chast, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” (Bloomsbury)

Lacy M. Johnson, “The Other Side” (Tin House)

Gary Shteyngart, “Little Failure” (Random House)

Meline Toumani, “There Was and There Was Not” (Metropolitan Books)

BIOGRAPHY:

Ezra Greenspan, “William Wells Brown” (W.W. Norton & Co.)

S.C. Gwynne, “Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson” (Scribner)

John Lahr, “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Ian S. MacNiven, “Literchoor Is My Beat”: A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Miriam Pawel, “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” (Bloomsbury)

CRITICISM:

Eula Biss, “On Immunity: An Inoculation” (Graywolf Press)

Vikram Chandra, “Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty” (Graywolf Press)

Claudia Rankine, “Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf Press)

Lynne Tillman, “What Would Lynne Tillman Do?” (Red Lemonade)

Ellen Willis, “The Essential Ellen Willis,” edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press)

FICTION:

Rabih Alameddine, “An Unnecessary Woman” (Grove Press)

Marlon James, “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (Riverhead Books)

Lily King, “Euphoria” (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Chang-rae Lee, “On Such a Full Sea” (Riverhead Books)

Marilynne Robinson, “Lila” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

NONFICTION:

David Brion Davis, “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation” (Alfred A. Knopf)

Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book” (Pantheon)

Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” (Henry Holt & Co.)

Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press)

Hector Tobar, “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

POETRY:

Saeed Jones, “Prelude to Bruise” (Coffee House Press)

Willie Perdomo, “The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon” (Penguin Books)

Claudia Rankine, “Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf Press)

Christian Wiman, “Once in the West” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Jake Adam York, “Abide” (Southern Illinois University Press)

NONA BALAKIAN CITATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN REVIEWING

Alexandra Schwartz

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