Anna Burns, Steve Coll among recipients of National Book Critics Circle awards

The annual book awards, the only ones chosen by critics, also honored Tommy Orange, Zadie Smith and Maureen Corrigan.
Photo by Dominique NabokovZadie Smith's essay collection 'Feel Free' received the criticism prize from the National Book Critics Circle.
Photo by Dominique NabokovZadie Smith's essay collection 'Feel Free' received the criticism prize from the National Book Critics Circle.
Published March 15

The National Book Critics Circle presented its annual awards to a diverse group of authors at a ceremony Thursday night in New York.

The book awards, given in six categories, are the only book prizes chosen by critics. The organization’s 24-member board selects the books honored each year.

This year’s fiction award went to Anna Burns, whose novel Milkman also won the Man Booker Prize. The formally experimental novel, set in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, is the story of a nameless young woman menaced by an older man.

Steve Coll received the nonfiction award for Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan. A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Coll is a staff writer for the New Yorker and dean of the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University.

Ada Limon received the poetry award for The Carrying, a collection of deeply felt poems about the emotional, physical and cultural burdens people bear. Limon teaches in several creative writing programs.

Novelist Zadie Smith was honored for criticism for her lively, wide-ranging collection Feel Free: Essays, covering topics from climate change to social media, from 18th century paintings to the movie Get Out.

The autobiography award was given to Nora Krug for her graphic memoir, Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home, about her efforts to deal with the long shadow cast by World War II.

Christopher Bonanos was honored for his biography Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous, the first comprehensive portrait of the innovative and influential photographer Arthur Fellig.

The NBCC’s John Leonard Prize for first book in any genre, chosen by members’ votes, went to Tommy Orange’s compelling novel about the lives of Native Americans, There There.

The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing was presented to NPR and Washington Post book critic Maureen Corrigan. The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award went to Arte Público Press of Houston, the oldest and largest publisher of Hispanic literature in the country.

Contact Colette Bancroft at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.

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