Glorious PRH Manhattan Night: ‘24 NBCC Fiction, Biography, Best Debut Authors Published by Knopf, Penguin Press


The first days of spring, and the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Awards March 21 Manhattan ceremony, have arrived almost simultaneously, bringing the fresh air of optimism about prospective cultural prizes for Penguin Random House’s books in the year ahead. A great start: Three of our imprints’ shortlisted titles, in the Biography and Fiction  categories, and the John Leonard Prize for Best Debut, have been voted the 2024 respective winners by the members of the NBCC, which describes its annual Awards, celebrating its 50th Anniversary year: “considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a [national] jury of working critics and book review editors.”

Our Winners:


WINNIE AND NELSON: Portrait of a Marriage by Jonny Steinberg (Knopf)



Waiting to Be Arrested at Night by Tahir Hamut IzgilJohn Leonard Prize

WAITING TO BE ARRESTED AT NIGHT: A Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide by Tahir Hamut Izgil, translated by Joshua L. Freeman (Penguin Press)


All three winners were present to receive their awards, expressing joy and humility for their honor.

Judy Blume

Too, our national treasure Judy Blume was bestowed The Ivan Sandrof Life Achievement Award, which she accepted via Zoom.

Our colleagues at the American Library Association (ALA) are recognized with the Toni Morrison Achievement Award.

A 24-member board of directors, comprised of critics and editors “from some of the country’s leading print and online publications”, and the reviewers who contribute to them, nominate and choose the five finalists in each group.

Spring cheers to Jonny Steinberg, Lorrie Moore, Tahir Hamut Izgil, his translator Joshua L. Freeman, and to their Knopf and Penguin Press publishing teams, and to our Finalists in Biography, Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and John Leonard Prize category.

Ahead: The Pulitzer Prizes, May 8.

Posted: March 22, 2024