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National Book Critics Circle Awards announced, mostly women victors

By March 19, 2018No Comments

Source : Times of India

The National Book Critics Circle is a tax-exempt organization founded in 1974 at New York’s legendary Algonquin Hotel by John Leonard, Nona Balakian, and Ivan Sandrof, known critics of their time. They wanted to make book converations a national conversation. The National Book Critics Circle now has more than 700 critics and editors from leading newspapers, magazines and online publications.

National Book

Every year they award the best literature published in the United States in six categories— autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In addition the John Leonard Prize awards “an outstanding first book in any genre”, the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing awards a NBCC member “for exceptional critical work” and the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award awards a person or institution who has “made significant contributions to book culture”. These are the only national literary awards chosen by critics themselves.

This year the winners are:


Poetry: Layli Long Soldier for Whereas
Whereas is a collection of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers which confronts the United States government in attitude and behavior towards Native American peoples and tribes.


Criticism: Carina Chocano for You Play The Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages
The essays examine the way media, across various spectrums, depict women and their roles across time and how that affects those watching and taking in these characters.

Autobiography: Xiaolu Guo for Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China
This memoir tells the tale of a curious mind coming of age in an country inhospitable to such, and her determination to find a different life beyond these borders.

Winners 1

Biography: Caroline Fraser for Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Researching unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser gives us the first comprehensive historical biography Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie.


Nonfiction: Frances FitzGerald for The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

The book tells of the Evangelical movement in America all the way from the Puritan era, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to the 2016 presidential election.


Fiction: Joan Silber for Improvement

Improvement tells the story of a young single mother living in New York, her aunt and ho the decisions they make affect for the world around them. A novel that explores the importance of connection, and the consequences of generosity in the face of loss


The John Leonard Prize: Carmen Maria Machado for Her Body and Other Parties

The book is a collection of stories, that bring out unspoken truths about being women. Mixing genre’s like fantasy, psychological realism, horror, science fiction and comedy the author weaves mesmerising thought provoking tales.


The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing : Charles Finch

Charles Finch is an American author and literary critic. He is best known for his Charles Lenox series, a series of mysteries set in Victorian era England. He has reviews books for several leading publications such as The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune and USA Today.
The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: John McPhee

John Angus McPhee is an American writer known to be one of the pioneers of creative nonfiction. He;s written for many publications and is respected as a nonfiction writing instructor at Princeton University.
All the award winning books this year were written by women. Now that the known gender discrimination that has been prevalent in employment is being called out and reducing, women will be in more positions critique, write and get published, so maybe one day we can see a year when all categories, including The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award and The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, will have women winners.



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