National Book Critics Circle announces awards

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The winners of the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced in a ceremony in New York tonight. In a first for the awards, two poetry winners were declared. The nonfiction winner, Dexter Filkins, is also up for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. And ‘My Father’s Paradise,’ the winning book in autobiography, is based around the life of Yona Sabar, a UCLA professor of Hebrew.

Fiction: Roberto Bolaño, ‘2666


Biography: Patrick French, ‘The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul

Autobiography: Ariel Sabar, ‘My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq

Nonfiction: Dexter Filkins, ‘The Forever War

Poetry: August Kleinzahler, ‘Sleeping It Off in Rapid City’ and Juan Felipe Herrera, ‘Half the World in Light

Criticism: Seth Lerer, ‘Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter’

Ron Charles, winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing was previously announced, as was PEN American Center’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.


A complete list of finalists that were in the running is available on the National Book Critics Circle website.

— Carolyn Kellogg