Adichie wins National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction for ‘Americanah’

March 13

“Americanah,” a novel about race and identity by acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, won the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction, announced during a ceremony Thursday at the New School in Manhattan.

Adichie, whose other works include “Half of a Yellow Sun,” was chosen over Donna Tartt, author of “The Goldfinch,” and three other finalists.

“Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,” Pulitzer-winning journalist Sheri Fink’s book about Hurricane Katrina, won for nonfiction.

The biography winner was Leo Damrosch’s “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World.”

Amy Wilentz’s “Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti” received the autobiography prize; the book is based on Wilentz’s years of reporting from that nation.

Frank Bidart’s “Metaphysical Dog” won for poetry, and Franco Moretti’s “Distant Reading” won for criticism.

Books by Jonathan Franzen and Janet Malcolm were among the other nominees in the criticism category.

The critics’ group also presented its inaugural award for a debut book of any genre, the John Leonard Prize, to Anthony Marra for his novel “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.” Leonard, who died in 2008, was a longtime reviewer, an avid supporter of new writers and a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle.

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith — the influential Chicano author and translator who is also a professor of literature at the University of Texas at Austin— received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

Katherine A. Powers, whose criticism has appeared in The Washington Post, among other publications, was given the honorary Nona Balakian Citation for “excellence in reviewing.”

The NBCC, which was established in 1974, has about 600 members.

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