Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel about race and identity was awarded the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction.
Adichie’s “Americanah,” was chosen over “The Goldfinch” author Donna Tartt and three other finalists according to a story in Newsone.
Adichie is best known “Half of a Yellow Sun.” Americanah centers around a young man and woman from Nigeria who fall in love but face difficult choices when they leave home and end up in different countries, leading vastly different lives. Both flee the military dictatorship of their homeland. Ifemelu departs for America to study. Obinze, a thoughtful son of a professor had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Others winners included Sheri Fink’s book on Hurricane Katrina, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death In a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,” which won for nonfiction. Leo Damrosch’s “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World” won the biography prize. Amy Wilentz’s “Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti” received the autobiography prize.
“Other winners at Thursday’s ceremony in Manhattan included Frank Bidart’s “Metaphysical Dog” for poetry and Franco Moretti’s “Distant Reading” for criticism, with books by Jonathan Franzen and Janet Malcolm among the other nominees,” the Associated Press reported.
The John Lennard Prize, an inaugural award for a debut book of any genre, went to Anthony Marra for his novel “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.” John Leonard, who died in 2008, was a longtime reviewer, avid supporter of new writers and a founder of the critics circle.
Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, an influential Hispanic author and teacher received a lifetime achievement prize. Katherine A. Powers, whose criticism has appeared in the Washington Post among other publications, was given an honorary award for “excellence in reviewing.”
The NBCC was established in 1974 and has around 600 members.
Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates www.criminalu.co, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at Andrew.Bolsinger@gmail.com