Critical Notes

New reviews and more from NBCC members

By Michael Schaub

Members and friends, we’d love for you to join us this Thursday, April 7, at 8 pm Eastern, for a conversation featuring the NBCC’s Emerging Critics past and present. This virtual event features Emerging Critics Fellowship program founder Elizabeth Taylor and Emerging Critics from each cohort, describing how the Emerging Critics program works and how it has influenced them. We’ll hear from Emerging Critics including NBCC board members J. Howard Rosier, Mandana Chaffa and Jennie Hann, and Rishi Reddi, author of Passage West. The event will be moderated by former Emerging Critic and current Vice President/Emerging Critics Heather Scott Partington, and is organized by Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari. There will be an ASL interpreter, and closed captions will be available. You can register here, and we hope to see all of you there!

Member Reviews/Essays

Anna V.Q. Ross reviewed Imagine Us, The Swarm by Muriel Leung for Salamander Magazine.

NBCC Emerging Critics Fellow Rishi Reddi wrote about land, law, and social status for Air/Light Magazine.

Costa B. Pappas wrote about contemporary retellings of classic books you probably read in high school for Teen Vogue.

David Vogel reviewed Truly, Madly by Stephen Galloway for the Chicago Review of Books.

Jayne Marek reviewed The Feast Delayed by Diane LeBlanc for The Minnesota Review.

Kitty Kelley reviewed Peter L.W. Osnos’ George Soros: A Life in Full for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Katherine Hill reviewed Elena Ferrante’s new book of essays, In the Margins, for The Guardian.

Tod Goldberg reviewed Eli Cranor’s Don’t Know Tough for USA Today.

NBCC lifetime member Fran Hawthorne reviewed Gina Roitman’s Don’t Ask for the New York Journal of Books.

Former NBCC board member Victoria Chang and Dean Rader reviewed three first books of poems—Amanda Moore’s Requeening, Paul Tran’s All the Flowers Kneeling, and Devon Walker-Figueroa’s Philomath—for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Priscilla Gilman reviewed The Candy House by Jennifer Egan for The Boston Globe.

Kristen Martin reviewed Candice Wuehle’s Monarch and Maud Newton’s Ancestor Trouble for NPR.

Beth Kanell reviewed Lisa Scottonline’s thriller What Happened to the Bennetts for the New York Journal of Books. She also joined 36 other authors of New England mysteries in the spring 2022 issue of Mystery Readers Journal.

Heller McAlpin reviewed Ben McGrath’s Riverman: An American Odyssey for The Wall Street Journal.

Member News

Carissa Chesanek won first place in the Art of Reflection Competition 2022 for her essay “White Deer,” published in Litro Magazine.

Hélène Cardona’s Birnam Wood (Salmon Poetry), her translation of El Bosque de Birnam (Consell Insular d’Eivissa, Ibiza, Spain) by her father José Manuel Cardona, won the 2022 Independent Press Award in Poetry.

Partner News

Our partners at the PEN/Faulkner Foundation have named Oprah Winfrey as their 2022 PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion. They’ll be honoring Oprah, along with their finalists and winner, at the virtual PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration on May 2, and advance tickets are now available.

Other News

NBCC Award-winning memoirist and cultural critic Margo Jefferson is among the 10th anniversary recipients of one of the world’s richest and most prestigious literary prizes, the Windham-Campbell, along with trailblazing playwright Winsome Pinnock, and PEN Pinter Prize-winning Tsitsi Dangarembga of Zimbabwe. 

Photo of Lincoln’s Inn Library in London by Mariusz Kluzniak via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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.