Although, for various reasons, a number of winners could not be there in person, the National Book Critics Circle awards were handed out February 28 before a large crowd at the New School in New York City.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain took the prize for fiction, while Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon won in nonfiction. Robert A. Caro added another award to his collection, with the fourth volume of his study of Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power, winning in the NBCC biography category. Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton won for autobiography, Stranger Magic by Marina Warner took the criticism prize, and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys by D.A. Powell won in poetry.
Two honorary awards were given: William Deresiewicz received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar received the Ivan Sandrop Lifetime Achievement Award.
Solomon, in a moving acceptance speech for the nonfiction award, said, “I really wanted to write a book about love.” His Far from the Tree is about parents of marginalized children.