Critical Notes

News and reviews from the NBCC

By Carolyn Kellogg

NBCC president Laurie Hertzel interviewed Louise Erdrich about her new novel, The Night Watchman, and her grandfather, who inspired the main character.  She also reviewed Rust, a memoir by Eliese Colette Goldbach, about working in a Cleveland steel plant, and wrote her weekly column about the pleasures of memorizing poetry. All for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where Hertzel is the senior editor for books.

Priscilla Gilman reviewed The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich for the Boston Globe.

NBCC treasurer Marion Winik has recently written for The Washington Post about memoirs by Katie Roiphe and Diane Keaton and The Escape Artist, by Helen Fremont, and for Newsday about The Truants, by Kate Weinberg.

Martha Anne Toll reviewed Supreme Inequality by Adam Cohen for NPR Books.

Jake Cline reviewed Weather by Jenny Offill for the Washington Post.

Jenny Shank reviewed Kawai Strong Washburn’s debut novel Sharks in the Time of Saviors for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Howard Axelrod’s The Stars in Our Pockets for the Chicago Tribune.

Board member Lori Feathers interviewed Mark Radar about his debut novel, The Wanting Life, for Lit Hub.

Tobias Carroll interviewed Teddy Wayne about his new novel Apartment and interviewed David Goldblatt about his new book The Age of Football, both for InsideHook, and also wrote about notable recent books in translation for Words Without Borders.

Sarah McCraw Crow reviewed Therese Anne Fowler’s novel A Good Neighborhood and Crissy Van Meter’s novel Creatures, both for BookPage.

Elaine Szewczyk wrote an author profile of Héctor Tobar and his novel, The Last Great Road Bum, coming from MCD in June, for Publishers Weekly.

Peggy Kurkowski reviewed The Gimmicks by Chris McCormick in The Historical Novels Review and reviewed Revolutionary Brothers: Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Friendship That Helped Forge Two Nations by Tom Chaffin in Open Letters Review.

Jeremy Lybarger reviewed The American People: Volume Two: The Brutality of Fact by Larry Kramer for The Nation.

Benjamin Woodard reviewed Rodrigo Fresán’s The Bottom of the Sky for Kenyon Review Online.

Lisa Spaar looked at two books of poetry and translation as a second act in the LA Review of Books.

Robert Allen Papinchak reviewed Julian Barnes’s The Man in the Red Coat for the Washington Independent Review of Books.


Purdue University Press has just published Nimble Tongues: Studies in Literary Translingualism by Steven G. Kellman, a former board member and Balakian recipient.

NBCC treasurer Marion Winik will read from her latest book, The Big Book of The Dead, on NPR’s Live From Here with Chris Thile on Saturday, March 14, broadcast live from Kennedy Center. She did an Interview with Tantor Media about recording the audiobook. 

Rayyan Al-Shawaf’s novel, When All Else Fails, was reviewed in the LA Review of Books.

W. Scott Olsen interviewed Samantha Cooper, photo editor at WIRED magazine, and photographer Carolina Repezzi about her award-winning images from the Agbogbloshie e-waste scrapyard in Ghana, both for

Zach Graham “microreviewed” some of his favorite films of 2019 for the February/March issue of The Believer.

Connie Post’s poetry collection Prime Meridian was reviewed in Rhino Magazine.

The NY Times wrote about former board member Linda Wolfe, who died Feb. 22 at age 87. In addition to her dedication to literary criticism, Wolfe was, they wrote, “a writer who took her readers behind the scenes of true crimes and into the minds of their perpetrators.”


NBCC members: Send us your stuff! Your work may be highlighted in this roundup; please send links to new reviews, features and other literary pieces, or tell us about awards, honors or new and forthcoming books, by dropping a line to Be sure to include the link to your work.


NBCC friends and members: Our awards are coming March 12! The awards are free, followed by a post-awards celebratory fundraiser with drinks and snack and literary luminaries. Get tickets now.