NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE ANNOUNCES FINALISTS FOR 2016 AWARDS
New York, NY (January 17, 2017)-Today the NBCC announced its 30 finalists in six categories--autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry--for the outstanding books of 2016. The winners of three additional prizes (The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, The John Leonard Prize and Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing) were also announced. The National Book Critics Circle Awards, begun in 1975 and considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors.
The awards will be presented on March 16, 2017 at the New School in New York City. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
The recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award is Margaret Atwood. Born in 1939 in Ottawa, Ontario, Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She is the author of some 16 novels, eight collections of short stories, eight children's books, 17 volumes of poetry, 10 collections of nonfiction, as well as small press editions, television and radio scripts, plays, recordings, and editions. Her lifetime contribution to letters and book culture include groundbreaking fiction, environmental and feminist activism, and service to community as a cofounder of the Writers' Trust of Canada. Her books have received critical acclaim in the United States, Europe, and her native Canada, and she has received numerous literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Governor General's Award, twice.
Yaa Gyasi's debut novel, Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf), is the recipient of the fourth annual John Leonard Prize, established to recognize outstanding first books in any genre and named in honor of founding NBCC member John Leonard. Finalists for the prize are nominated by more than 700 voting NBCC members nationwide, and the recipient is decided by a volunteer committee of NBCC members.
The recipient of the 2016 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing is Michelle Dean. Dean's journalism and criticism appears regularly in The Guardian, The New Republic, and a host of other venues. Originally trained as a lawyer, she has been a full-time writer since 2012. Her book about women critics and intellectuals, titled Sharp: The Women Who Made An Art of Having an Opinion, is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic. The Balakian Citation is open to all NBCC members, who submit recent reviews to the 24-person board, which votes on the recipient. The Balakian Citation carries with it a $1,000 cash prize, endowed by NBCC board member Gregg Barrios.
Here is the complete list of NBCC Award finalists for the publishing year 2016:
Marion Coutts, The Iceberg (Black Cat Press)
Jenny Diski, In Gratitude (Bloomsbury)
Hope Jahren, Lab Girl (Alfred A. Knopf)
Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between (Random House)
Kao Kalia Yang, The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father (Metropolitan Books)
Nigel Cliff, Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story (Harper)
Ruth Franklin, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright)
Joe Jackson, Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Michael Tisserand, Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White (Harper)
Frances Wilson, Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Carol Anderson, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (Bloomsbury)
Mark Greif, Against Everything: Essays (Pantheon)
Alice Kaplan, Looking for The Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic (University of Chicago Press)
Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (Picador)
Peter Orner, Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live (Catapult)
Michael Chabon, Moonglow (Harper)
Louise Erdrich, LaRose (Harper)
Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone (Little, Brown)
Ann Patchett, Commonwealth (Harper)
Zadie Smith, Swing Time (Penguin Press)
Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown)
Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation Books)
Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Doubleday)
Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (Harvard University Press)
John Edgar Wideman, Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File (Scribner)
Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Tyehimba Jess, Olio (Wave Books)
Bernadette Mayer, Works and Days (New Directions)
Robert Pinsky, At the Foundling Hospital (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Monica Youn, Blackacre (Graywolf Press)
NONA BALAKIAN CITATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN REVIEWING
JOHN LEONARD PRIZE
Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf)
IVAN SANDROF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Winners of the National Book Critics Circle awards will be announced on Thursday, March 16, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at the New School's Tishman Auditorium, 66 W. 12th St, New York, NY. A finalists' reading will be held on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the same location. Both events are free and open to the public.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE
The National Book Critics Circle was founded in 1974 at New York's legendary Algonquin Hotel by a group of the most influential critics of the day, and awarded its first set of honors in 1975. Comprising 1000 working critics and book-review editors throughout the country, including student members and supporting Friends of the NBCC, the organization annually bestows its awards in six categories, honoring the best books published in the past year in the United States. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the publishing industry. The finalists for the NBCC awards are nominated, evaluated, and selected by the 24-member board of directors, which consists of editors and critics from the country's leading print and online publications. For more information about the history and activities of the National Book Critics Circle and to learn how to become a member or supporter, visit http://www.bookcritics.org. Follow the NBCC on Facebook and on Twitter (@bookcritics).