Awards are made by a 24 member board of critics from around the country. Books are often recommended to the board by the more than 500 general members of the Circle. The award for Criticism was first given in 1975.


2003 Rebecca Solnit River of Shadows
2002 William H. Gass Tests of Time
2001 Martin Amis The War Against Clishe: Essays and Reviews, 1971-2000
2000 Cynthia Ozick Quarrel and Quandry
1999 Jorge Luis Borges Selected Non-Fictions
1998 Gary Giddons Visions of Jazz
1997 Mario Vargas Llosa Making Waves
1996 William gass Finding a Form
1995 Robert Darnton The Forbidden Best Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France
1994 Gerald Early The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature and Modern American Culture
1993 John Dizikes Opera in America
1992 Gary Wills Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America
1991 Lawrence L. Langer Holocaust Testimonies
1990 Arthur C. Danto Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present
1989 John Clive Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History
1988 Clifford Geertz Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author
1987 Edwin Denby Dance Writings
1986 Joseph Brodsky Less Than One: Selected Essays
1985 William H. Gass Habitations of the Word: Essays
1984 Robert Hass Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry
1983 John Updike Hugging the Shore
1982 Gore Vidal The Second American Revolution and Other Essays, 1976-1982
1981 Virgil Thompson A Virgil Thompson Reader
1980 Helen Vendler Part of Nature, Part of Us: Modern American Poets
1979 Elaine Pagels The Gnostic Gospels
1978 Meyer Shapiro Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries, Selected Papers
1977 Susan Sontag On Photography
1976 Bruno Bettelheim The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance and Importance of Fairy Tales
1975 Paul Fussell The Great War and Modern Memory