Maggie O’Farrell and Cathy Park Hong take top honors at the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Awards-Art-and-culture News, Firstpost
Amy Stanley’s Stranger in the Shogun’s City and francine j. Harris’ Here Is the Sweet Hand won awards in the biography and poetry categories respectively.
Maggie O’Farrell, the author of Hamnet. Image via Facebook / MaggieOFarrellBooks
New York: Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet, an imaginary interpretation of the death of Shakespeare’s son from the bubonic plague, won the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction.
Hamnet, a story sadly well placed for the current pandemic, explores the impact of the boy’s illness and death on his family. He was Shakespeare’s only son, and scholars have long speculated on his influence – if any – on Hamlet, on which Shakespeare worked in the years following Hamnet’s death.
that of Tom Zoellner Island on Fire: the revolt that ended slavery in the British Empire won for non-fiction, and Amy Stanley Stranger in the city of the shogun: a Japanese woman and her world was the winner in biography.
The Autobiography Prize was awarded to Cathy Park Hong for Minor feelings: an American calculation of Asian origin.
Other winners announced at Thursday night’s virtual ceremony included Francine J. harris Here is the gentle hand for poetry and that of Nicole Fleetwood Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration for criticism. Raven Leilani received the John Leonard Award for Best First Book for her novel Chandelier.
Career Excellence Awards were presented to New Republic writer Jo Livingstone for her “excellence in criticism” and Feminist Press for her long history of advocating for women’s equality, publishing authors ranging from Grace Paley to Anita Hill to Pussy Riot.
The Book Critics Circle was founded in 1974 and has hundreds of members across the country. This year’s awards are the first since many NBCC board members left last summer following a dispute over the organization’s response to the George Floyd murder and the Black Lives protests. Matters. Management brought in several new members and convinced some who had resigned to stay, resulting, according to critics, in “the most diverse board in NBCC history and one of the most experienced.”