Private: National Critics Circle Awards Nominees


Fiction: Monica Ali, Brick Lane. Edward P. Jones, The Known World. Caryl Phillips, A Distant Shore. Richard Powers, The Time of Our Singing. Tobias Wolff, Old School.

General Nonfiction: Caroline Alexander, The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. Anne Applebaum, Gulag. Paul Hendrickson, Sons of Mississippi. Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx. William T. Vollmann, Rising Up and Rising Down.

Biography/Autobiography: Blake Bailey, A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates. Paul Elie, The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage. George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards. Carol Loeb Shloss, Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake. William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era.

Poetry: Carolyn Forche, Blue Hour. Tony Hoagland, What Narcissism Means To Me. Venus Khoury-Ghata, She Says. Susan Stewart, Columbarium. Mary Szybist, Granted.

Criticism: Dagoberto Gilb, Gritos. Nick Hornby, Songbook. Ross King, Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling. Rebecca Solnit, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West. Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others.

And Scott McLemee, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, has been awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. The finalists included Adam Begley, James Marcus, Laura Miller, and Stacy Schiff. McLemee is an autodidact:

People sometimes call me a “public intellectual,” which is probably a euphemism — a polite way around the fact that I have no degrees, no institutionally recognizable field of specialization, and, indeed, no credentials of any kind, beyond the work you will find at this website.

As a teenager in the late 1970s, I discovered the work of Alfred Kazin, Seymour Krim, Paul Goodman, and Susan Sontag, among others. Also, punk rock and Marxist politics. Everything at this site ultimately can be traced back to that combination of influences.