The US National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) has announced the finalists for the 2020 NBCC Awards. The Zambian writer Namwali Serpell is shortlisted in the Criticism category for Stranger Faces, her collection of speculative essays exploring the face—the disabled face, the digital face, the strange face. The Liberian-American writer Wayétu Moore is in the Autobiography category for The Dragons, The Giant, The Women, a memoir based on her difficult childhood and her life as a Black woman and immigrant.
Presented for the first time in 1976, the NBCC Awards recognise the finest literary books published in the English language in the US. They were originally presented in six categories: Autobiography, Biography, Criticism, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. In 2014, the John Leonard Award was created for debut books.
Namwali Serpell’s debut novel The Old Drift (2019) won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. She later received a 2020 Windham–Campbell.
She won the Caine Prize in 2015 for her short story “The Sack.”
Wayétu Moore’s debut novel She Would Be King (2018) was named a Best Book of 2018 by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Entertainment Weekly, and BuzzFeed. She received the 2019 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction.
The Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie won the NBCC fiction award in 2014 for Americanah. In 2011, the Nigerian writer Teju Cole was a finalist in the fiction category for Open City. In 2012, the Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o was a finalist in the autobiography category for In the House of the Interpreter.
We congratulate Wayétu Moore and Namwali Serpell.
Visit here for the full list of finalists.
The NBCC Awards Ceremony will be held on 25 March 2021.