The National Book Critics Circle gave out its annual awards at a well-attended ceremony at The New School in New York City on March 12. Despite much commentary from the presenters and winners about folding stand-alone book reviews and the uncertain shift from print to digital for both books and book reviews, the NBCC celebrated books, reading and the art of book criticism.

Ron Charles, of the Washington Post (which recently announced the closure of its stand-alone book review), winner of the NBCC’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, made particularly pointed comments in his alternately hilarious and earnest acceptance speech. He noted that the New York Times Book Review is the last stand-alone review left, though, he said, its editors “won’t return my calls.” Giving shrinking space for book review, Charles also urged reviewers to pick the books they review carefully and to pick books they can celebrate. There were no major upsets among the winners, though there was an unprecedented tie for the poetry award, which NBCC board member Rigoberto Gonzales said “has never happened before and will never happen again.”

Fiction: Roberto Bolaño, 2666. FSG

General Nonfiction: Dexter Filkins, The Forever War. Knopf

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

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

Criticism: Seth Lerer, Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter. University of Chicago Press

Poetry: August Kleinzahler, Sleeping It Off in Rapid City. FSG, and Juan Felipe Herrera, Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. University of Arizona Press

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Ron Charles

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: Pen American Center