National Book Critics Circle Announces Finalists for Publishing Year 2011

by Barbara Hoffert | Jan-21-2012

For release 7:30 p.m., January 21, 2012

On Saturday, January 21, at 6:30 p.m., the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its book awards for publishing year 2011 at a gala event held at Artists Space in downtown Manhattan. A crowd hovering around 200 braved a few inches of city slush to hear former NBCC winners and finalists present the lists. Also announced: Robert Silvers, longtime editor of the New York Review of Books, won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and Kathryn Schulz won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

A complete list of the nominations may be found below. Highlights:

The fiction finalists, announced by 2010 fiction winner Jennifer Egan, featured Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child (Knopf). Nonfiction, presented by 2010 nonfiction nominee Siddhartha Mukherjee, featured three books that address war: Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Maya Jasanoff’s Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War (Knopf), and Amanda Foreman’s A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War (Random).

Biography, presented by biography finalist 2010 Yunte Huang, included heavy hitters like Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking) and John Lewis Gaddis’s George F. Kennan: An American Life (Penguin Press), and autobiography remained coolly serious, with books including Diane Ackerman’s One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, A Marriage, and the Language of Healing (W.W. Norton) and Luis J. Rodríguez’s It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing (Touchstone). That list was presented by NBCC 2010 winner Darin Strauss.

Poetry finalists, all demonstrating a mastery of form while advancing their art, included Laura Kasischke (Space, in Chains, Copper Canyon Press) and Yusef Komunyakaa (The Chameleon Couch, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), as well as relative newcomer Aracelis Girmay (Kingdom Animalia, BOA Editions). They were presented by 2010 finalist Kathleen Graber. Criticism finalists, offered by 2010 criticism finalist Elif Batuman, ranged from Geoff Dyer’s Otherwise Known as the Human Condition to Ellen Willis’s much-anticipated posthumous Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music (University of Minnesota Press).

Winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday, March 8, at 6:00 p.m. at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York. A complete list of finalists are featured below. For further queries, please contact Eric Banks at [email protected] or (917) 609-5297.

 

Fiction

Teju Cole, Open City (Random House)

Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Alan Hollinghurst, The Stranger’s Child (Knopf)

Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision (Lookout Books)

Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia (Scribner)
 

Nonfiction

Amanda Foreman, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War (Random)

James Gleick, The Information (Pantheon)

Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 

Maya Jasanoff, Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War (Knopf)

John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead: Essays (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux)

 

Autobiography

Diane Ackerman, One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, A Marriage, and the Language of Healing (W.W. Norton)

Mira Bartók, The Memory Palace (Free Press)

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America (Little, Brown)

Luis J. Rodríguez, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing (Touchstone)

Deb Olin Unferth, Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War (Henry Holt)

 

Biography

Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of the Revolution (Little, Brown)

John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan: An American Life (Penguin Press)

Paul Hendrickson, Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961 (Knopf)

Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking)

Ezra F. Vogel, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China (Belknap Press: Harvard University Press)

 

Criticism

David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything (Faber & Faber)

Geoff Dyer, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews (Graywolf)

Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstasy of Influence (Doubleday)

Dubravka Ugresic, Karaoke Culture (Open Letter)

Ellen Willis, Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music (University of Minnesota Press)
 

Poetry

Forrest Gander, Core Samples from the World (New Directions)

Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions)

Laura Kasischke, Space, in Chains (Copper Canyon Press)

Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Bruce Smith, Devotions (University of Chicago Press)
 

Founded in 1974, the NBCC is a nonprofit organization of book reviewers and critics that honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature, in part through annual awards for the year’s outstanding books. Books are directly nominated and chosen by leading book critics. The NBCC thus offers the unique opportunity for professional critics to recognize and reward literary excellence.




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