March 12, 2009

NBCC awards shocker: Bolano wins best novel of the year

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Ron Charles of the Washington Post: Awarded for criticism

Ron Charles of the Washington Post: Awarded for criticism

Hold on to your hats: The National Book Critics Circle awarded its novel of the year award to Roberto Bolano‘s 2666 last night at a ceremony in New York. In an AP wire story, Hillel Italie reports: The award for general nonfiction went to The Forever War by Dexter Filkins; the autobiography prize went to Ariel Sabar‘s My Father’s Paradise; the biography prize went to Patrick French for his V.S. Naipaul bio, The World Is What It Is; and the poetry prize went to both August Kleinzahler‘s Sleeping It Off in Rapid City and Juan Felipe Herrera‘s Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems — the first tie in the history of the awards.

Meanwhile, at a time when more and more newspapers — let alone booksections — are going out of business, the endangered group acknowledged a couple of their own. Seth Lerer won the prize for a book of criticism for his book Children’s Literature, which prompted him, as he accepted the prize, to say he wanted to “thank all the little people.” And the Washington Post’s book critic Ron Charles won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing … which led him to observe that “I don’t know if I’m nervous or if this is just survivor’s guilt.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives

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