Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Halima Elmajdoubi

AWP is coming up in a few weeks! If you’re planning to travel to Seattle, please stop by our booth and say hi! Also please be sure to check out our event on Friday, March 10, featuring NBCC Fiction Award winner Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and NBCC Criticism finalist Namwali Serpell. The event will be moderated by NBCC Board member Jane Ciabattari. Find more information about the event here.

NBCC member Meg Lemke, graphic novels reviews editor at Publishers Weekly and editor-in-chief of MUTHA Magazine, is also moderating some exciting events at AWP, including Comics are the Future: Transformative Storytelling through Sequential Art, and Comics Night Out: It’s an Art Party, an offsite event at the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown, co-organized with Fieldmouse Press and MUTHA.

Remember to also check out our 30 Books in 30 Days series, where we will be sharing original reviews by our prize judges of the 2022 NBCC Awards finalists. The series continues with J. Howard Rosier on Margo Jefferson’s Constructing a Nervous System, a finalist for criticism. Rosier calls the work “a memoir in the profoundest sense” and commends Jefferson for proving, yet again, that “the noblest subject to take on may very well be an investigation of the self.”

Lastly, a reminder that this Thursday, the authors of the forthcoming book Say the Right Thing: How to Talk About Identity, Diversity, and Justice will be in conversation with NBCC member Julie Lythcott-Haims. Register here for the virtual event.


Daneet Steffens reviewed Jessica George’s debut novel Maame for the Boston Globe.

For the Red Hook Star-Revue, Michael Quinn reviewed Todd Hughes’ Lunch with Lizabeth.

Jenny Shank reviewed Oindrila Mukherjee’s The Dream Builders for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Anita Fellicelli reviewed Rebecca Makkai’s new novel I Have Some Questions for You for Alta.

For Salamander, Patrick Davis reviewed two poetry collections: C.T. Salazar’s Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking and Cyrus Cassells’ The World that the Shooter Left.

Jake Casella Brookins reviewed Doon Arbus’ The Caretaker for the Chicago Review of Books.

For TheBrooklyn Rail, John Domini reviewed Yelena Beloruset’s War Diary, translated from German by Greg Nissan.

For Blueink Review, Charles Green reviewed Olga Tymofiyeva’s Just City and Katherine Green’s A Freak in the Family Tree.

Heller McAlpin reviewed Patrick Bringley’s All the Beauty in the World for NPR.

For On the Seawall, Ron Slate reviewed two books: Nathan McClain’s Previously Owned and Vénus Khoury-Ghata’s Marina Tsvetaeva.

For Kirkus Reviews, former board member Tom Beer wrote about 4 books for Black History Month.

Lanie Tankard reviewed Sergio Ramírez’s The Managuan Trilogy, translated by Leland Chambers and Daryl Hague, for The Woven Tale Press.

For the Boston Globe, Priscilla Gilman reviewed Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions for You.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Margaret Verble’s Stealing for Chapter 16.

For the Washington Examiner, Diane Scharper reviewed Mark Dawidziak’s A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe.

Linda Scheller reviewed Connie Post’s new book Between Twilight for California Review of Books.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Gunnhild Oyehaug’s Evil Flowers, translated by Kari Dickson, for On the Seawall.

For Shelf Awareness, Nell Beram reviewed four books: Carmela Ciuraru’s Lives of the Wives: Five Literary Marriages; Richard Bradford’s Tough Guy: The Life of Norman Mailer; Thomas Mallon’s Up with the Sun; and Tove Alsterdal’s You Will Never Be Found.


For The Millions, Jenny Shank spoke with Chip Livingston about the new book he edited, Love Loosha: The Letters of Lucia Berlin and Kenward Elmslie.

Board member Mandana Chaffa talked to Gabrielle Bates about her debut poetry collection Judas Goat for Chicago Review of Books.

Grant Faulkner spoke with Peter Ho Davies about his book The Art of Revision for the podcast Write-Minded.

Anita Felicelli profiled the beloved Palo Alto bookstore Printers Inc. for Alta.

Lee Rossi reviewed James Kushing’s Tangled Hologram for Rain Taxi.

For their Across the Pond podcast, Board member Lori Feathers and co-host Sam Jordison talked to Paul Harding about This Other Eden.

For Literary Hub, Jane Ciabattari spoke with NBCC member Dawn Raffel about her third collection, Boundless as the Sky, and Asale Angel-Anjani about her first novel A Country You Can Leave.

Member News

Elizabeth Lund has published her debut poetry collection Un-Silenced with Červená Barva Press.

NBCC Sandrof award winner Joy Harjo wins Yale’s Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.

Richard Scott Larson’s debut memoir will be published early next year by the University of Wisconsin Press as part of the series Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies.

The Abduction, Hélène Cardona’s translation of Maram Al-Masri’s Le Rapt has been awarded an Albertine and FACE Foundation grant.

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Photo by Ricardo Esquivel