Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we’d like to remind you to mark this Thursday, Jan. 20, on your calendars—that’s when we’ll be announcing the finalists for the NBCC Awards, as well as hosting a virtual panel on the critic as artist, featuring four past winners of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing! It all starts at 7:00 pm Eastern, and trust us, you won’t want to miss it. You can find more information here, and register here—we hope to see you at the event!

Member Reviews/Essays

Former NBCC board member Tess Taylor wrote a remembrance of Joan Didion for CNN.

NBCC Emerging Critics Fellow Mandana Chaffa reviewed Gunnhild Øyehaugh’s Present Tense Machine, translated by Kari Dickson, for the Chicago Review of Books, and Diane Seuss’s frank: sonnets for Split Lip Magazine.

TaraShea Nesbit reviewed Jonathan Evison’s Small World for The New York Times Book Review.

Lauren LeBlanc reviewed Chantal James’ None but the Righteous for the Los Angeles Times.

Kristen Martin reviewed Kathryn Schulz’s Lost & Found for NPR.

Ellen Prentiss Campbell wrote about the pleasures of returning to the movies (in that all-too-brief window) for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Chris Barsanti reviewed John McWhorter’s Woke Racism for PopMatters.

Dan Kubis reviewed Hanya Yanagihara’s To Paradise for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Jake Cline reviewed Antoine Wilson’s Mouth to Mouth for The Washington Post.

NBCC lifetime member Fran Hawthorne reviewed Harald Jähner’s Aftermath for the New York Journal of Books.

Lanie Tankard reviewed The Vanished Collection by Pauline Baer de Perignon for The Woven Tale Press.

Christoph Irmscher reviewed Jude Piesse’s The Ghost in the Garden: In Search of Darwin’s Lost Garden for The Wall Street Journal.

​​Clea Simon reviewed Mark Prins’ The Latinist for The Boston Globe.

Carlos Lozada, a winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and the Pulitzer Prize, reviewed Stephen Marche’s The Next Civil War for The Washington Post.

Beth McDermott reviewed The Girl Who Talked to Paintings by Shannon K. Winston for RHINO.

Kitty Kelley reviewed Bernardine Evaristo’s Manifesto for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Jami Attenberg’s memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You, for USA Today, and Antoine Wilson’s novel Mouth to Mouth for Alta.

Judy Reveal reviewed A Scone of Contention by Lucy Burdette, Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel Reyes, Long Overdue and the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers, and New York’s Finest by Michael Daly for the New York Journal of Books.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed All I Want by Darcey Bell for Shelf Awareness.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed Gwen E. Kirby’s Shit Cassandra Saw and Carl Bernstein’s Chasing History for NPR.

Member Interviews

Amy Reardon interviewed Lily King for Electric Literature.

NBCC Vice President/Events and Fiction Chair Jane Ciabattari‘s Literary Hub conversation with former NBCC board member Jabari Asim on his new novel, Yonder, covers decolonized souls, Black love, and writing the past.

Anne Charles interviewed Joan Steinau Lester about her memoir Loving Before Loving: A Marriage in Black and White on the cable access show All Things LGBTQ.

Abby Frucht interviewed Clarence Major for JMWW.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub profiled Benjamin Percy for Kirkus Reviews.

Member News, Etc.

NBCC Emerging Critics Fellow Yohanca Delgado is one of the 35 writers who won 2022 NEA Creative Writing Fellowships.

Joan Frank‘s short novel Juniper Street has won the C&R Press 2021 Book Award in Fiction. It will be published in September 2022.

Jenny Shank‘s book Mixed Company was the December selection for the KGNU & Boulder Book Store Radio Book Club. The interview that aired on the radio is available as a podcast now.

Ethan Gallogly‘s book The Trail was listed as one of the Top 15 Outdoors & Nature Books of 2021 by Chris Townshed, esteemed outdoors book author and editor at The Great Outdoors, the UK’s premier outdoors magazine.

SEND US YOUR STUFF: 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.