NBCC in NYC
Today was the beginning of two days of National Book Critics Circle meetings in New York -- with a solid morning and early afternoon of activity among the membership, followed by the secret Conclave of Twenty-Four to vote for the winners of the book awards, and culminating in announcement of the results at the public ceremony, which Lizzie Skurnick live-blogged.
Here are the results:
Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Sam Anderson
Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: Emilie Buchwald, founder of Milkweed Editions
Criticism: Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Poetry: Mary Jo Bang, Elegy (Graywolf Press)
Biography: Tim Jeal, Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer (Yale University Press)
Nonfiction: Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (Doubleday)
Autobiography: Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I'm Dying (Knopf)
Fiction: Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead Books)
Tomorrow, I'll officially become a member of the Board of Directors and be taught the secret handshake and whatnot. Among other things, that means signing up for at least a couple of committees that will decide the finalists in various categories for next year's awards.
We also have to elect a new president, since John Freeman's term has reached its end and he won't even be on the board. This is not just a reshuffling of personnel, but a changing of the guard. The membership grew by almost half over the past year -- largely, if not entirely as a result of Freeman's efforts to make NBCC a more active and visible organization. He is going to be the very definition of a tough act to follow, but we'll just have to do the best we can.
UPDATE: My friend Laurie Muchnick writes up the evening over at Bloomberg.
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