Monday, March 15, 2010

Winners of 2009 NBCC Awards

In January the finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award were announced. Last Thursday the winners were announced at a ceremony in New York City. The fiction award went to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall (Holt), which also won the Booker Prize last year. Mantel issued a statement in response to the recognition that included the comment that she is working on a sequel to the historical novel focusing on Thomas Cromwell and the court of Henry VIII in Tudor England. The poetry award went to Rae Armantrout's Versed (Wesleyan University Press). The prize for criticism went to Eula Biss for her book of essays on American life and culture, Notes from No Man's Land (Graywolf).

The nonfiction award was won by Richard Holmes for The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (Pantheon) -- a book that just came out in paperback at the beginning of March that links science and literature.

The award for autobiography went to Diane Athill for her book Somewhere Towards the End (Norton), described by the judges as "a funny, exact philosophical reflection , told from the end of the author's life yet never presuming that age grants special wisdom -- only some affecting and unexpected stories." Blake Bailey's book Cheever: A Life (Knopf) won the award for biography for his detailed and insightful biography of the writer John Cheever.

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