The VIDA Count: NBCC Cheat Sheet

By Jane Ciabattari

Here's grist for the National Book Critics Circle Panel: The VIDA Count and Gender Bias in Book Reviewing coming up May 29 at 4 pm at the annual membership meeting. (Details below).

From 2009-2013, more than half of the National Book Critics Circle awards went to women: three of eight in 2013; five of eight in 2012, six of eight in 2011, and six of eight in 2009.

2013 NBCC Awards (for books published in 201), three of the eight awards went to women:
Leeanne Shapton (autobiography)
Marina Warner (criticism)
Sandra Gilber & Susan Gubar (Sandrof lifetime achievement award)

2012 NBCC awards (for books published in 2011), five of eight awards went to women:
Edith Pearlman (fiction)
Maya Jasanoff (nonfiction)
Laura Kasishke (poetry)
Mira Bartok (autobiography)
Balakian award for excellence in reviewing, Kathryn Schulz.

2011 NBCC awards (for books published in 2010), six of eight awards went to women:
Jennifer Egan (fiction)
Isabel Wilkerson (nonfiction)
C.D. Wright (poetry),
Sarah Bakewell (biographhy)
Clare Cavanagh (criticism)
Parul Sehgal (Balakian).

2010 NBCC awards (for books published in 2009), six of eight awards went to women:
Hilary Mantell (fiction)
Rae Armantrout (poetry)
Eula Biss (criticism),
Diana Athill (autobiography)
Joan Acocella (Balakian)
Joyce Carol Oates (Sandrof award for lifetime achievement). –

National Book Critics Circle Membership Meeting, May 29, The Center for Fiction May 29 at the Center for Fiction, 17 East 47th Street, New York City

National Book Critics Circle Panel: The VIDA Count and Gender Bias in Book Reviewing

For the past three years, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts has been conducting a count of how many of the books reviewed by prominent publications were written by women and by men, and how many of the book reviews were assigned to female and male reviewers. The lopsided results have helped begin a conversation about gender bias in the literary world. How can we as book critics and editors address this issue?


Laurie Muchnick (moderator) is the book editor at Bloomberg News and president of the NBCC. She has previously been book editor at Newsday and an editor at the Voice Literary Supplement.

Erin Belieu is the author of four poetry collections, all from Copper Canyon Press, including Slant Six, forthcoming in fall of 2014. Belieu's work has appeared or is forthcoming in places such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Atlantic, Slate and Best American Poetry. Belieu is, with Cate Marvin, the co founder of VIDA: Women In Literary Arts. She teaches in the writing program at Florida State University and is Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Writers Conference.

Pamela Paul was named editor of The New York Times Book Review in April, having served as features editor and children's book editor. She is the author of three books, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, Pornified, and Parenting, Inc. She has written for the Atlantic, The Economist, Vogue, Time, The Washington Post and writes widely for other sections at the Times.

Kathryn Schulz is the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error and the book critic for New York Magazine. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, TIME Magazine, the Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, and the New York Times Book Review, among other publications. In 2012, she won the National Book Critics Circle's Nona Balakian Prize for Excellence in Reviewing. She was a 2004 recipient of the Pew Fellowship in International Journalism, and has reported from throughout Central and South America, Japan, and, most recently, the Middle East.

Rob Spillman is editor and co-founder of Tin House, a fifteen-year-old bi-coastal (Brooklyn and Portland) literary magazine. He is also the executive editor of Tin House Books and co-founder of the Tin House Literary Festival. His writing has appeared in BookForum, the Boston Review, Connoisseur, Details, GQ, Nerve, the New York Times Book Review, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, Salon, Spin, Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Worth, among other publications. He is also the editor of Gods and Soldiers: the Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing.

Meg Wolitzer's novels include, most recently, The Interestings, as well as The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, and The Wife, among others. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize.  Wolitzer has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Columbia University, Barnard College and SUNY Stony Brook Southampton. In the fall, along with singer-songwriter Suzzy Roche, she will be a guest artist in the Princeton Atelier program at Princeton University.