National Book Critics Circle at AWP 2013 in Boston

By Jane Ciabattari

National Book Critics Circle At
2013 AWP Conference & Bookfair

Hynes Convention Center &
Sheraton Boston Hotel
March 6 – 9, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013 1:30 pm

How to Break into Book Reviewing. Stephen Burt, Dan Kois, Karen Long, Eric Lorberer, Parul Sehgal. Who gets to write book reviews, and where, and why? This panel of reviewers who are also editors will explain and demystify the ways that book reviews come into being. They’ll describe how established writers, new writers, editors, periodicals, and book publishers interact; how assignments get made; and who (if anyone) gets paid. They’ll consider what makes a review—and a reviewer—stand out, and how writers new to this kind of work might discover in it a vocation or even a profession.

Saturday, March 9, 2013 1:30 pm.

What Is Criticism? With NBCC Winners and Finalists. Stephen Burt, Vivian Gornick, James Wood, Clare Cavanagh, Parul Sehgal. What does it take to change discussion—or start discussion—around a novel, a poem, a play, a career? How to combine instruction with delight? Four leading literary and cultural critics, winners or finalists for the National Book Critic Circle’s awards, discuss the art of writing about books. These winners and finalists differ in background and experience; all represent criticism as a lively, challenging activity, one that can and must find something new to say.

NBCC panelists:

Stephen Burt is Professor of English at Harvard. His book, Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry was a 2009 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. His other books include The Art of the Sonnet (with David Mikics) and Randall Jarrell and His Age. He writes for the Boston Review, the London Review of Books, and other venues. A new book of poems, Belmont, will come out in 2013.

Clare Cavanagh is a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern University. Her book Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 2010. She has translated many books by Wislawa Syzmborska and by Adam Zagajewski and is now writing the biography of Czeslaw Milosz. Her writings appear in the New York Review of Books, the New Republic and elsewhere.

Vivian Gornick is one of America's most respected, and most outspoken, literary and cultural critics, known for writings on feminism, on novel and memoir, on Jewish experience, and on New York City. The Men in My Life was a 2008 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. Her many other books include The End of the Novel of Love, Women in Science, and Essays in Feminism.
Dan Kois is a senior editor at Slate and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

Karen R. Long is an NBCC board member; she recently left  the Cleveland Plain Dealer after an impressive 34-year career. She will oversee the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, working as a consultant to the Cleveland Foundation.

Eric Lorberer is the editor of Rain Taxi Review of Books and the director of the Twin Cities Book Festival. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and speaks at conferences and literary festivals around the country as an advocate for independent publishing and literary culture.

Parul Sehgal is an editor at the New York Times Book Review. Previously, she was Books Editor at National Public Radio and a Senior Editor at Publishers Weekly. In 2010, she won the National Book Critics Circle's Nona Balakian award for excellence in reviewing. Her reviews and essays, which range widely across literary fiction and nonfiction, have appeared in the New York Times, Bookforum, Irish Times, the Literary Review, the Plain Dealer, O Magazine, and Time Out.

James Wood is Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard and an internationally eminent critic of fiction. His book, The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel was a 2004 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. Other books include The Broken Estate, The Book Against God, and How Fiction Works. He writes for the New Yorker.