Sunday, January 24, 2010

NBCC Awards

The National Book Critics Circle Awards finalists were announced in New York yesterday. It's an exciting list--see below. Of particular resonance to me are fiction finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell for American Salvage, criticism finalist Eula Biss for Notes from No Man's Land, authobiography finalist Debra Gwartney for Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love, biography finalist Benjamin Moser for Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, and nonfiction finalist William T. Vollmann for Imperial.

I'm also elated that the incomparable Joyce Carol Oates received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. And that New Yorker critic Joan Acocella received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, for which I'm thrilled to have been a finalist.

Here's all the information. Kudos and gratitude to the hard-working NBCC board:

Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End (Norton)
Debra Gwartney, Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Mary Karr, Lit (Harper)
Kati Marton, Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America (Simon & Schuster)
Edmund White, City Boy, Bloomsbury

Blake Bailey, Cheever: A Life (Knopf)
Brad Gooch, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor (Little, Brown)Benjamin Moser, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector (Oxford University Press)
Stanislao G. Pugliese, Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line (Penguin Press)

Eula Biss, Notes From No Man's Land: American Essays (Graywolf Press)Stephen Burt, Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (Graywolf Press)
Morris Dickstein, Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression (Norton)
David Hajdu, Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture (Da Capo Press)
Greg Milner, Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music (Faber)

Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press)Marlon James, The Book of Night Women (Riverhead)
Michelle Huneven, Blame (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG)
Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (Holt)
Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite (Knopf)

Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History (Penguin Press)
Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan Books)
Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (Pantheon)
Tracy Kidder, Strength in What Remain (Random House)
William T. Vollmann, Imperial (Viking)

Rae Armantrout, Versed (Wesleyan)
Louise Gl├╝ck, A Village Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
D.A. Powell, Chronic (Graywolf Press)
Eleanor Ross Taylor, Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems, 1960–2008 (Louisiana State University Press)
Rachel Zucker, Museum of Accidents (Wave Books)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Joan Acocella

Michael Antman
William Deresiewicz
Donna Seaman
Wendy Smith

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: Joyce Carol Oates

The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin, is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization consisting of some 600 active book reviewers who are interested in honoring quality writing and communicating with one another about common concerns. It is managed by a 24-member all-volunteer board of directors. For more information, please contact National Book Critics Circle president Jane Ciabattari at or go to

Monday, January 11, 2010

Eight Forty-Eight - Exploring the Art of Edgar Miller

Here's my latest Chicago Public Radio piece. Listen to the fabulously articulate and knowledgeable Richard Cahan and Michael Williams talk about their gorgeous new books, Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home. Here's a link:

Eight Forty-Eight - Exploring the Art of Edgar Miller