Critical Notes

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

Kansas City, here we come! If you’re going to be at AWP 2024 this year, we’d love to see you—please stop by our table at Booth 1624, where you can say hello, pick up Emerging Critics applications, sign up for Critical Notes, explore membership (student memberships are $15), and talk about books, criticism, and this year’s awards finalists. 

We’d also love to see you at our literary partner event, “Where Is Literary Criticism Headed?”, on Friday, Feb. 9, from 3:20 pm – 4:35 pm at Ballroom B, Level 2, Kansas City Convention Center. NBCC criticism chair J. Howard Rosier moderates the panel with authors Margo Jefferson and Camille Dungy and former NBCC criticism chair Walton Muyumba.

And please help us toast our 50th anniversary at a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, at The Ship, 1221 Union Ave., Kansas City, in collaboration with Biographers International Organization! Come meet NBCC President Heather Scott Partington, board members, former board members, NBCC members, book lovers, biographers and more. We hear their gumbo is on point.

See the bottom of this email for more exciting AWP events featuring our members! There’s so much to choose from this year.

Finally, The judging for the next phase of the Barrios Prize—our award for best book in translation—will begin soon! We’re looking for members who are interested in reading our six finalists and joining in discussions to select one title as our winner. Barrios judges must commit to reading all six finalist books and engage in group discussions from mid-February to mid-March. Interested in participating? Fill out this form by Friday, Feb. 9, at midnight ET!

Member Reviews/Essays

Dan Kubis reviewed Kiley Reid’s Come and Get It for the Chicago Review of Books.

Rhoda Feng reviewed Bora Chung’s Your Utopiafor NPR and Kiley Reid’s Come and Get Itfor TLS.

Former NBCC board member Marion Winik, the winner of this year’s NBCC Service Award, reviewed Alice Sadie Celine by Sarah Blakly Cartwright for the Star Tribune.

Carole V. Bell reviewed Come and Get It by Kiley Reid for The Boston Globe. And for NPR, Carole wrote an essay about Hallmark’s new month-long lineup of Jane Austen-inspired movie romances—a quartet that includes a first of its kind for Hallmark full-costume, 19th-century-set, Black-led reimagining of her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. The piece considers the logic and implications of the recasting with input from key creatives behind the production.

Former NBCC Emerging Critics Fellow Liz Wood, who participated in the committee for the 2023 NBCC Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, reviewed The Singularity by Balsam Karam, translated by Saskia Vogel, for Words Without Borders.

Martha Anne Toll reviewed Tanja Maljartschuk’s Forgottennessfor NPR.

NBCC Vice President/Barrios Book in Translation Prize Mandana Chaffa reviewed Kaveh Akbar’s Martyr! for The Brooklyn Rail.

Linda Hitchcock reviewed The Last Love Note by Emma Grey, Donna Hemans’ The House of Plain Truth, and Nilima Rao’s A Disappearance in Fiji for BookTrib.

Rochelle Spencer’s story “Black Experimental Women Writers on Interdisciplinary Craft” was recently published in AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle.

Claude Peck reviewed Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Queer Histories by Diarmuid Hester for the Star Tribune.

Jenny Shank reviewed Kristin Hannah’s The Womenfor the Star Tribune.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Don McNeil’s The Wisdom of Plagues for The Boston Globe.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Michael Crummey’s The Adversaryand Jonathan Blitzer’s Everyone Who Is Gone Is Herefor the Star Tribune.

Karl Wolff reviewed Confrontations by Simone Atangana Bekono for the New York Journal of Books.

Former NBCC board member Mark Athitakis reviewed Leo Vardiashvili’s Hard by a Great Forest for the Los Angeles Times.

Celia McGee wrote “The Secret of Thomas Mann’s Translator” for The New York Times.

Bill Thompson reviewed Caspar Henderson’s The Book of Noisesfor The Post and Courier.

Member Interviews

Laura Villareal interviewed Joshua Garcia about his debut poetry collection, Pentimento, for Letras Latinas Blog 2

Grant Faulkner interviewed Janet Finch, author of White Oleander, about writing with all of the senses for the Write-minded podcast.

Ladane Nasseri spoke with Hisham Matar about his latest novel, My Friends, for Electric Literature.

Member News

Rhoda Feng was recently named the winner of the 2022-23 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for her theater reviews.

Diane Josefowicz’s novella, L’Air du Temps (1985), was reviewed by Mara Hagen-Spath in Motif RI.  Her flash fiction, “Hell Strip,” was published in Gone Lawn, and her translation of “Two Prose Poems” by Anna de Noailles earned a Pushcart nomination from the editors of L’Esprit Literary Review.

NBCC Members at AWP

Sarah McCraw Crow will be moderating a virtual panel on “Writing the Resonant Recent Past” on Wednesday, February 7 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. 

JoeAnn Hart will be signing copies of her award-winning fiction collection Highwire Act & Other Tales of Survival at the Black Lawrence Press booth #643 on Thursday, Feb. 8th from noon to one. 

Hélène Cardonawill speak on the panel “From the French but not from France: A Bilingual Reading of Francophone Poems, Sponsored by ALTA” on Thursday, February 8 at 12:10pm – 1:25pm, in Room 2215B, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level.

Sarah McCraw Crow will be participating in an off-site: “A Reading by VCFA Alumnx,” on Thursday, 4:00-5:30 pm at PT’s Coffee Power & Light, 1310 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO, 64105.

Terese Svobodawill be reading at an off-site, “Authors Guild Launchpad / Mason Jar Press Reading,” on Thursday, February 8 from 9 to 11 p.m. at Redux Society at 215 Southwest Blvd.

Diane Josefowicz will be signing books at the Flexible Press table, #T3307, on Friday, February 9, from 9-10 am.

John Domini will speak on a panel called “A Tribute to Don DeLillo: A Literary Vandal and Bad Citizen” on Friday, February 9, from 9:00 am to 10:15 am in Room 2209, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level.

Board member May-lee Chai will be on the panel “Life as Laboratory: Using Creative Play as Activism” with Celeste Chan, Gretchen Cion, and Hasti Jafari on Friday, February 9 at 10:35 am-11:50 am in Room 2215C, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level.

Terese Svobodawill be signing books on Friday, February 9 at 11 a.m. at the Pen Parentis table (#1115). She’ll also be signing the Weird Sister Collection at the Feminist Press table (#737) at 12 p.m., and her third story collection, The Long Swim, winner of the Juniper Prize in short fiction, at 1 p.m. at the University of Massachusetts Press table (#1742).

Board member J. Howard Rosierwill host a conversation with Taco Bell Quarterly Editor-in-Chief M.M. Carrigan about developing a sustainable writing/editing practice from the margins, for Exhibit B’s Poetry for the People programming. The event is on Friday, February 9, at 12:30 p.m. at the Black Archives of Mid-America. 

John Dominiwill be speaking on a panel about “The Craft and Currency of the Literary Book Review” on Friday, February 9, at 1:45 pm to 3:00 pm, in Room 2211, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level.

Martha Anne Tollwill be speaking on a panel called “How Book Reviewing is Changing and Why it Matters” on Friday, February 9, at 1:45 pm – 3:00 pm, in Room 3501 EF, Kansas City Convention Center, Level 3.

Board member Rebecca Morgan Frank will read on the panel “Emerson MFA at Forty: Celebrating Four Decades of Writing and Publishing” on Friday, February 9, at 3:20 pm to 4:35 pm in Room 2211, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level.

Parul Kapur will be reading from her debut novel, “Inside the Mirror,” about twin sister artists in 1950s India, winner of the AWP Prize for the Novel and forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in March 2024, at the AWP Award Series Reading & Celebration on Friday, February 9, at 4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. in Ballroom D, Level 2, Kansas City Convention Center.

Board memberRebecca Morgan Frank will participate in an off-site: “Reading Featuring UIC and Northwestern Alumni and Faculty,” on Friday, February 9, at 5-6:30 pm at Strange Days Brewing Co., 316 Oak St.

John Dominiwill be participating in an off-site, “Dzanc Books Reading & Reception,” on Friday, February 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Post Coffee at 3550 Broadway Blvd. 

Diane Josefowiczwill participate in an off-site, “Migration Patterns: A Mind the Bird Media Community Showcase,” on Friday, February 9, from 6-7 pm, at PH Coffee, 2200 Lexington Ave.

Dianewill also be participating in “Pizza and Prose,” a Flexible Press author showcase, on Friday, February 9, 7-9 pm, at The Milwaukee Delicatessen, 101 W 9th St.

John Dominiwill be signing books at the Dzanc table on Saturday, February 10, at 9 am.

Board members Adam Dalva and J. Howard Rosier will speak on a panel called “The Criticism of Translated Books: A Words Without Borders Conversation,” on Saturday, February 10 at 9:00 am – 10:15 am, in Room 2208, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level.