In these fraught times, some good news. So pleased to announce the winners of the National Book Critics Circle awards for the publishing year 2019. Normally board members meet in person in New York the morning of the awards ceremony to choose the winners, who they celebrate in the evening. But these are not normal times.
And so the board—including me—met by online conferencing, and debated and argued and voted for five hours.
The winners are:
Autobiography: Chanel Miller, “Know My Name” (Viking) The memoir of a young woman who was raped by a student at Stanford University, and the aftermath.
Biography: Josh Levin, “The Queen” (Little, Brown), the biography of Linda Taylor, a grifter who became known as the original welfare queen.
Criticism: Saidiya Hartman, “Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Stories of Social Upheaval” (W.W. Norton).
Fiction: Edwidge Danticat, “Everything Inside,” a collection of stories
Nonfiction: Patrick Radden Keefe, “Say Nothing: The True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland” (Doubleday).
Poetry: Morgan Parker, “Magical Negro” (Tin House). Named one of the top ten books of the year by the Star Tribune.
Previously announced were Sarah M. Broom’s memoir, “The Yellow House” (Grove) which won the John Leonard First Book Prize; Katy Waldman, winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing; and Naomi Shihab Nye, winner of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.
The annual awards ceremony and gala afterparty were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the party will be rescheduled for Sept. 12 at the New School in New York.