Nicole R. Fleetwood, francine j. harris, and Raven Leilani won in their categories at the US National Book Critics Circle Award 2020 announced on March 25, 2021.

The US National Book Critics Circle honours outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature in the United States. Every year since 1974, they present the National Book Critics Circle Award for the finest books published in English in the categories; Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry, and Criticism in the United States. There are also the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, John Leonard Prize, and the Iban Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Some previous winners of the awards have been Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Edwidge Danticat, and Saidiya Hartman.

The finalists for the 2020 edition of the prize were made known to the public on January 25 and there were several writers of African descent in the Autobiography, Biography, Criticism, Fiction, Nonfiction, and poetry categories. There were also writers in the John Leonard Prize and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

The winners in their categories announced this past week are;

Poetry:

francine j. harris
francine j. harris

francine j. harris, Here Is the Sweet Hand (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Reaction from the winner: My goodness. That’s me. :)) Thank you immensely. Immensely!” she stated on her Twitter. “I owe enormous gratitude to Carl Phillips, not just for his eye on the collection, but for his support, mentorship and friendship which has, at times, kept me going. And which is testimony to how much it means to have someone in your corner. Thank you Carl!”

The John Leonard Prize: Raven Leilani, Luster (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Raven Leilani
Raven Leilani

Reaction from the winner: “Thank you so much to @bookcritics for this and for giving me a few minutes to thank the mentors and teachers who kept me honest and curious, without whom there would be no book,” said Leilani.

Criticism: Nicole R. Fleetwood, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard Univ. Press)

Nicole R. Fleetwood
Nicole R. Fleetwood

Reaction from the winner: