Women ruled at the 2017 book awards presented by the National Book Critics Circle on Thursday in New York City. Of the six competitive book categories and three special awards, seven prizes went to female writers.
The NBCC awards are the only major book prizes awarded by critics. Except for the John Leonard Prize for first book, which is determined by a group of NBCC members, the award recipients are chosen by the 24-member board of the organization, which has more than 700 members.
The 2017 prize for poetry went to Layli Long Soldier for her debut collection, Whereas, an impassioned response to the U.S. government's treatment of Native Americans. In February, the book won the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Award.
Joan Silber, who has been publishing fiction for almost 40 years, received the fiction prize for her insightful, beautifully written novel Improvement.
The recipient for criticism was cultural critic Carina Chocano for her incisive book You Play The Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages. The prize for autobiography went to author and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo for her harrowing Nine Continents: A Memoir in and Out of China.
Caroline Fraser took the biography prize for her sweeping and revealing book about an iconic woman writer, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The nonfiction award went to Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Frances FitzGerald for her deeply researched and timely book about the interaction of religion and politics, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America.
Three previously announced awards were also presented. The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award was given to legendary nonfiction writer John McPhee, a Princeton professor, New Yorker writer and author of more than 30 books, including Encounters With the Archdruid, Coming Into the Country and his most recent, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process.
The recipient of the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, given to an NBCC member for exceptional critical work, was Charles Finch, whose criticism appears in the New York Times and elsewhere.
The John Leonard Prize went to Carmen Maria Machado for her genre-smashing fiction collection, Her Body and Other Parties.
Contact Colette Bancroft at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.