The School of Writing was delighted to host the National Book Critics Circle Award Ceremony for 2012 books. Many congratulations to this year's finalists and winners.
Ben Fountain won for his novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which The New York Times described as “[An] inspired, blistering war novel…Though it covers only a few hours, the book is a gripping, eloquent provocation. Class, privilege, power, politics, sex, commerce and the life-or-death dynamics of battle all figure in Billy Lynn’s surreal game day experience.”
Andrew Solomon won for Far From the Tree, about which Julie Myerson, in The New York Times Book Review, exclaimed "It’s a book everyone should read and there’s no one who wouldn’t be a more imaginative and understanding parent—or human being—for having done so."
Robert A. Caro won for the fourth volume in his acclaimed biography series, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson. In The New York Times Book Review, President Bill Clinton noted:
" L.B.J. got to me, and after all these years, he still does. With this fascinating and meticulous account of how and why he did it, Robert Caro has once again done America a great service."
Leanne Shapton won for her autobiography, Swimming Studies. In The Washington Post, Nicola Joyce praised the book, writing: "It seems Shapton is a synesthete…and perhaps this is what enables her to describe the sensory experiences of swimming so richly. Every sense is heightened…Her words are vivid, colorful and tangible. I bet that Shapton could explain swimming even to someone who has never dipped a toe in water."
Marina Warner won for her book Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, about which Harold Bloom wrote: "As a contemporary scholar of myth and magic, [Marina Warner] aids immensely in the struggle for literary values that has to be ongoing, whatever the distractions of our moment." Photograph by Dan Welldon
D. A. Powell won for Useless Landscape , or A Guide for Boys, about which Chris Pusateri wrote in The Library Journal: "VERDICT Powell is as good a technician as anyone in the business, and his latest book, both smart and accessible, will have award panels queuing up to sing its praises."