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National Book Critics Circle announces finalists for 2011 awards

January 21, 2012 |  7:30 pm
The announcers at the NBCC Awards

The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2011 book awards at a public ceremony on Saturday in New York City. Two Southern California writers are among those up for the awards, which will be presented on March 8 in Manhattan.

"It Calls You Back," an intergenerational tale of life in and out of Los Angeles gangs by Luis Rodriguez, a follow-up to his classic memoir "Always Running," is among the finalists for autobiography. Jonathan Lethem, who holds the Roy E. Disney Chair in Creative Writing at Pomona College, is a finalist for his collection of critical essays, "The Ecstasy of Influence." Another finalist, the novel "Stone Arabia" by Dana Spiotta, is set in the San Fernando Valley.

Awards will be made in six categories: fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, poetry and criticism. For 37 years, the National Book Critics Circle has annually presented awards to books of excellence. Previous winners include Cormac McCarthy, John Updike, John Ashberry, Jennifer Egan, Alex Ross, Roberto Bolano, Susan Sontag, Martin Amis and Junot Diaz.

The 30 2011 NBCC finalists include many who have been previously recognized for their work: two Pulitzer Prize winners, one winner of the Booker Prize, two previously NBCC award winners, and one author who has received the National Humanities Medal. Yet the NBCC board also recognized two debuts: Teju Cole's novel, "Open City," and "Pulphead," a collection of essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan.

L.A. Times book critic David L. Ulin and staff writer Carolyn Kellogg sit on the 24-member board of the National Book Critics Circle.

Fiction
Teju Cole, "Open City"
Jeffrey Eugenides, "The Marriage Plot"
Alan Hollinghurst, "Stranger's Child"
Edith Pearlmam, "Binocular Vision"
Dana Spiotta, "Stone Arabia"

Nonfiction
Amanda Foreman, "A World On Fire"
James Gleick, "The Information"
Adam Hochschild, "To End All Wars"
Maya Jasanoff, "Liberty's Exiles"
John Jeremiah Sullivan, "Pulphead"

Autobio
Diana Ackerman, "One Hundred Names for Love"
Mira Bartok, "Memory Palace"
Luis Rodriguez, "It Calls You Back"
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, "Harlem is Nowhere"
Deb Olin Unferth, "Revolution"

Biography
Mary Gabriel, "Love and Capital"
John Lewis Gaddis, "George F. Kennan"
Paul Hendrickson, "Hemingway's Boat"
Manning Marable, "Malcolm X"
Ezra Vogel, "Deng Xiaoping"

Criticism
David Bellos, "Is That A Fish In Your Ear"
Geoff Dyer, "Otherwise Known As the Human Condition"
Jonathan Lethem, "The Ecstasy of Influence"
Dubravka Ugresic, "Karaoke Culture"
Ellen Willis, "Out of the Vinyl Deeps"

Poetry
Forrest Gander, " Core Samples..."
Aracelis Girmay, "Kingdom Animalia"
Laura Kasischke, "Space, In Chains"
Yusef Komunyakaa, "The Chameleon Couch"
Bruce Smith, "Devotions

 

Photo: The announcers at the NBCC Awards (from left): Authors Yuente Huang, Darrin Strauss, Jennifer Egan, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Kathleen Graber and Elif Batuman. Credit: Carolyn Kellogg / Los Angeles Times.

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