2011 NBCC Award Finalists Announced

The National Book Critic Circle has announced the 2011 contenders for the NBCC Awards. Nominees were announced by last year’s finalists at a star-studded event in downtown Manhattan, for which a good-sized crowd “braved a few inches of city slush”—never let it be said that literary types are wimps. It’s a good list, with no big blowout media darlings except for maybe The Marriage Plot, and damn—there’s that Edith Pearlman again. Finalists are slightly more representative of small presses than last year’s contenders, and two authors receive the honor posthumously: Manning Marable and Ellen Willis. No word as to whether the NBCC will be repeating last year’s feature wherein it blogged about a finalist each day in the month leading up to the award in March, but I hope they do. It was a fun month-long series and made it a lot easier to pretend in a casual conversation that you’d read all the books, if you were so inclined.

The nominees are as follows:

Fiction
Open City by Teju Cole
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst
Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman
Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

Nonfiction
A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman
The Information by James Gleick
To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild
Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War by Maya Jasanoff
Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Autobiography
One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, A Marriage, and the Language of Healing
by Diane Ackerman
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartók
Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing
by Luis J. Rodríguez
Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War by Deb Olin Unferth

Biography
Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of the Revolution by Mary Gabriel
George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis
Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961
by Paul Hendrickson
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China by Ezra F. Vogel

Criticism
Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything by David Bellos
Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews by Geoff Dyer
The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem
Karaoke Culture by Dubravka Ugresic
Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music by Ellen Willis

Poetry
Core Samples from the World by Forrest Gander
Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay
Space, in Chains by Laura Kasischke
The Chameleon Couch by Yusef Komunyakaa
Devotions by Bruce Smith

The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award went to New York Review of Books editor Robert Silvers, and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing to Kathryn Schulz.

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3 Comments to 2011 NBCC Award Finalists Announced

  1. Kat Warren's Gravatar Kat Warren
    January 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s well regarded by many but I could not make get through “Stone Arabia” although I was greatly entertained by her earlier “Eat the Document.” “The Marriage Plot” was a terrific read.

  2. nbm's Gravatar nbm
    January 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, I have read exactly one of these books.* I also calculate I’ve read earlier books by seven of the authors. I don’t know what that indicates about either me or the awards.

    *Open City, and it kind of baffled me.

  3. January 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I liked both Stone Arabia and Eat the Document.

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