Critical Mass

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By Steven G. Kellman

If you are reading these words, you know that the news, reviews, and discussions posted on Critical Mass constitute one of the ways in which the National Book Critics Circle fulfills its mission of vivifying this country’s conversation about books. But in its 36 years of existence, the NBCC has become best known for the annual awards it confers on a book in each of six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as its Ivan Sandrof Award for lifetime achievement. The organization also sponsors public symposia in cities throughout the United States throughout the year. Members have a voice in choosing winners of the book awards and are eligible to run for the board of directors and to be considered for the annual Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. Their work is showcased in NBCC Featured Reviews, Roundup links, and guest posts (our current series is “The Next Decade in Book Culture”), and they participate in NBCC Reads polls and conversations around the country.

The NBCC is dedicated to book criticism in a diversity of forms and venues–print, electronic, and broadcast; newspapers, magazines, websites, podcasts, blogs, radio, and TV. You can follow the NBCC via Twitter, and you can befriend us on Facebook.

If you are not already a member but are active as a reviewer or editor, please consider joining the NBCC. Non-voting student and associate memberships are available for a mere $15 and $25, respectively. Complete information on the qualifications and privileges of membership is as close as the “Membership” icon at the top of this page. After clicking on it, you can also pay your dues online.

Membership terms are defined not by the calendar or fiscal year but from the date in which dues are received, so that it is never too early or too late to join. You are welcome at any time; no one will berate you for having waited 36 years before joining the National Book Critics Circle.