Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. The citation is awarded in honor of Nona Balakian, a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle, where she served as the board’s first secretary. The eminent critic and longtime editor at the New York Times Book Review also served on the Pulitzer Prize committee, the Board of Directors of PEN, and the Authors Guild board, was the author of Critical Encounters: Essays (1978), and co-author (with Charles Simmons) of The Creative Present (1969).

Since 2012, the Balakian Citation carries with it a $1,000 cash prize, thanks to a generous donation by NBCC board member Gregg Barrios.
A complete list of past Balakian winners follows the list of committee members.
2015 Submission Guidelines
You must be a member of the NBCC to be considered. If you are not a member, you can join online anytime before December 13, 2015, in order to be eligible for the award. All submitted reviews must have been published in 2015.
2015 Submission Procedures
Submissions may be made by email. Emails must be time stamped no later than midnight (PST) Sunday, December 13, 2015. Submissions may also, as in the past, be submitted in hardcopy by mail.
What to submit via email: Send up to five book reviews (all published in 2015) of no more than 5,000 words collectively. The total word count for the submissions must not exceed 5,000, or the entire submission is disqualified from consideration for the award. In your email, include a note listing the venue; title and word count of each piece submitted. Send links to your reviews as published online. 

Due to the capricious nature of the online world, links may expire. If you can, attach PDFs or screenshots of your book reviews as they appeared online or in print. Please make a print backup of your submission. In other words, make sure you have one print copy of each book review, preferably the published version. If there is a problem with your electronic online submission, you may be asked to submit a print version.
What to submit via mail: Submissions must be postmarked no later than Sunday, December 13, 2015. Send up to five book reviews (all published in 2015) of no more than 5,000 words collectively, with a brief cover letter listing the title and word count of each piece submitted. The total word count for the submissions must not exceed 5,000, or the entire submission is disqualified from consideration for the award.
For questions about the award and submission process, e-mail the Balakian Committee chair, Gregg Barrios. Email:
Please put Balakian Award in the subject line of your email.
Please submit all materials for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing to each individual member of the 2015 Balakian committee:
Gregg Barrios, chair
304 E Courtland Pl
San Antonio, TX 78212
Jane Ciabattari
730 Lisbon Court
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Michele Filgate
38 Douglass St., Apt. 3
Brooklyn NY 11231
Michael Miller
350 Seventh Avenue, 19th Fl
New York, NY 10001
Walton Muyumba
Ballantine Hall 442
Indiana University
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47407
Katherine A. Powers
438 Windsor St.
Cambridge MA 02141
Joanna Scutts
3057 29th Street, #1D
Astoria, NY 11102
Clay Smith
Kirkus Reviews/NBCC
6411 Burleson Rd.
Austin TX 787444

Past Recipients of the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing


Alexandra Schwartz (Acceptance speech)


Katherine A. Powers (Acceptance speech)


William Deresiewicz (William Deresiewicz Interview)


Kathryn Schulz (Critical Mass interview)


Parul Sehgal (Critical Mass interview | acceptance speech)


Joan Acocella


Ron Charles


Sam Anderson


Steven G. Kellman


Wyatt Mason


David Orr


Scott McLemee


Maureen N. McLane


Michael Gorra


Daniel Mendelsohn


Benjamin Schwarz


Albert Mobilio


Thomas Mallon


Dennis Drabelle


Laurie Stone


JoAnn Gutin


Brigitte Frase


Elizabeth Ward


George Scialabba


William Logan


Josh Rubins

Become a Friend of the NBCC

Awards Information

Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2015 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2015 Finalists Reading

NBCC 2014 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2013 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2013 Finalists Reading

Video: New Literary Journals

Video: The VIDA Count and Gender Bias in Book Reviewing

Podcast: What Is Criticism? NBCC Winners and Finalists at AWP

All videos and podcasts.


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