Roundup: A(nother) Roth Controversy, and more

by Mark Athitakis (membership) | May-23-2011

We swear we didn’t have any inside knowledge: Just after we wrapped up our weeklong Celebrating Philip Roth series on Critical Mass, Roth was named the winner of the 2011 Man Booker International Prize. The prize would’ve generated plenty of chatter in any circumstance, but the discussion got noisier when word came out that one of the judges, Virago Press founder Carmen Callil, quit the three-judge panel to protest Roth’s selection. In the Guardian, Callil explains her thinking, writing that “to give this prize to yet another North American writer, when we had such great writers to choose from (the previous winner was the truly great Canadian writer, Alice Munro) suggests a limited vision, to say the least.”

Elsewhere, Tablet’s Marc Tracy chats with Roth in New York the evening after the announcement; in a video, Benjamin Taylor interviews Roth about his career; and former NBCC president John Freeman discusses the inherent tension in prize panels at

If you’re heading to BEA this week, Library Journal’s Barbara Hoffert has a comprehensive guide to which publishers are giving away what galleys and where on the tradeshow floor.

Jim Carmin reviews Francine Prose’s My New American Life for the Oregonian and Edna O’Brien’s Saints and Sinners for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A tribute to the late Reynolds Price, whose 1986 novel, Kate Vaiden, was a finalist the NBCC fiction prize, was held last week at Duke University.

Harold Bloom, a repeat NBCC finalist, takes part in a video interview for the New York Times Book Review podcast.

Adam Kirsch reviews Kevin M. Schultz’ Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise in Tablet.

Ruth Franklin reviews Paula Fox’s News From the World for Slate.

Eric Banks reviews Deborah Baker’s The Convert for the Chicago Tribune.

Rigoberto Gonzalez reviews Martin Espada’s The Trouble Ball for the El Paso Times.

Steven G. Kellman reviews Bharati Mukherjee’s Miss New India for the Barnes & Noble Review.

Carolyn Kellogg reviews Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test for the Los Angeles Times.

Your reviews and recommendations help seed these roundups: If you have a news item or review you’d like considered for inclusion in future roundups, please email

photo: Nancy Crampton

About the Critical Mass Blog

Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).


Categories & Archives

Become a Member of the NBCC

NBCC Awards

Finalists for 2017

See all award winners

Find out how to submit

Read how we select

Frequently Asked Questions

Upcoming Events

NBCC Finalists’ Reading: March 13th, 2019

NBCC Awards Ceremony and Reception: March 14th, 2019

NBCC at AWP19 with Paul Beatty and Joan Silber: March 28th, 2019

NBCC at AWP19 The Future of Criticism: A Conversation with Established and Emerging Critics: March 30th, 2019

Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2017 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2017 Finalists Reading

All videos and podcasts.