Critical Notes

Catchup Roundup 1


Next week NBCC member Matt Weiland and his coeditor Sean Wilsey publish State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America,” a 21st century take on updating the WPA writers guide of the 1930s.

Among their inspired pairings: NBCC fiction award winner Louise Erdrich on North Dakota, NBCC autobiography finalist Alison Bechdel on Vermont,  NBCC autobiography finalist Joshua Clark on Louisiana, NBCC fiction finalist Dave Eggers on Illinois, NBCC fiction finalist Jayne Anne Phillips on West Virginia, NBCC fiction finalist Jonathan Franzen on New York, NBCC fiction finalist Ann Patchett on Tennessee, NBCC fiction and nonfiction finalist William T. Vollmann on California.

Laurels to NBCC board member and Balakian award winner Maureen N. McLane , whose first full-length poetry collection, “Same Life,” is published today by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Book celebration September 25 at 6:3 at the CUE Art Foundation in New York, 511 West 25th Street, (Ground Floor),between 10th and 11th Avenues. It’s free and open to the public.

And laurels to NBCC member Gregg Barrios, whose new play, “Rancho Pancho,” has had its world premiere (and been called “satisfying theater”).  “Rancho Pancho,” based on the stormy relationship between Tennessee Williams and Texan Pancho Rodriguez (the model for Stanley Kowalski),will be performed at the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown later this month.

NBCC member Whitney Terrell has won a Hodder fellowship in fiction. He is the New Letters Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

NBCC fiction finalist Amy Tan’s opera, based on her novel “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” with music by Stewart Wallace, has its premiere in San Francisco on Saturday night.

Former NBCC board member Laura Miller’s take on Anathem by Neal Stephenson—philosophy as a ripping yarn.

NBCC board member Ellen Heltzel and her co-author, former NBCC board member Margo Hammond, rated a mention in the fall book preview on the Los Angeles Times’s book blog, Jacket Copy, for their forthcoming “Between the Covers: The Book Babes’ Guide to a Woman’s Reading Pleasures.”

Meanwhile,on Jacket Copy, the Denis Johnson “Nobody Move” thread continues.

NBCC board member Geeta Sharma Jensen talks to Ann Patchett.

Former NBCC president John Freeman considers Per Petterson’s melancholy “To Siberia.”

NBCC board member Rigoberto Gonzalez on Frederico Pena’s memoir, “Where the Ox Does not Plow,” which traces a boy’s journey out of poverty into awareness.

Former NBCC board member Jessa Crispin takes on Andrew Meier’s “The Lost Spy,” a true-life story that unfolds like a thriller.

NBCC member John Reed’s new book, “All the World’s a Grave, is out this week.

NBCC member Marc Weingarten on “New York Stories” and “Submersion Journalism,” anthologies.

NBCC member Floyd Skloot, father of NBCC board member/blogging committee member Rebecca Skloot, is out with his new memoir, The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writers’s Life (University of Nebraska Press).

NBCC member Victoria Zakheim will be reading from “The Other Woman: Twenty-one Wives, Lovers, and Others Talk Openly About Sex, Deception, Love, and Betrayal” at the American Library of Paris on October 14. That’s 10, rue du Général Camou,    Metro: Alma Marceau (line 9), Ecole Militaire (line 8), for those lucky ones in Paris.