Critical Notes / Announcements

Reviews and More From NBCC Members

By Michael Schaub

“Moments of kindness and reconciliation are worth having, even if the parting has to come sooner or later.” — Alice Munro (1931-2024), Winner of the 1998 NBCC Award for Fiction

Members and friends, we’re proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, and next month, in honor of this milestone, we’ll be hosting two events at the Bay Area Book Festival with some amazing lineups.

On Sunday, June 2, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific, NBCC Co-Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari will host a panel, NBCC Superstars of Fiction, featuring three authors whose first books won NBCC Awards: Jonathan Lethem, Tommy Orange, and Amy Tan.

Also on June 2, at 3:00 p.m. Pacific, NBCC President Heather Scott Partington will host another panel, NBCC Superstars of Poetry, featuring some of the best and most beloved poets of our times: Victoria Chang, Forrest Gander, and D.A. Powell.

If you’ll be in the Bay Area then, we’d love to see you there!

Member Reviews/Essays

NBCC Emerging Critics Fellow Jenessa Abrams reviewed Miranda July’s All Foursfor the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Daneet Steffens reviewed Elizabeth O’Connor’s Whale Fall and Kaliane Bradley’s The Ministry of Timefor The Boston Globe.

Kai Maristed wrote about Cold Nights of Childhood by Tezer Özlü, translated by Maureen Freely, for The ArtsFuse. The book was the winner of the 2024 NBCC Barrios Prize for Literature in Translation.

NBCC board member Christoph Irmscher’s review of Peter Schjeldahl’s last book, The Art of Dying, was the featured commentary in On the Seawall.

Joyce Sáenz Harris reviewed Kimberly King Parsons’ We Were the Universefor The Dallas Morning News.

Barbara J. King reviewed Craig Foster’s Amphibious Soul: Finding the Wild in a Tame World for NPR.

Eric Liebetrau wrote about three history books for Kirkus Reviews.

Kristen Martin reviewed Alina Grabowski’s Women and Children First and Elizabeth O’Connor’s Whale Fall for NPR.

For The Red Hook Star-Revue, Michael Quinn reviewed The Margaret Palca Bakes Cookbook by Margaret Palca.

Diane Scharper reviewed Late Romance: Anthony Hecht—A Poet’s Life by David Yezzi for The Hopkins Review.

Nell Beram reviewed The Engagement Party by Darby Kane for the Portland Press Herald.

Rebecca Ruth Gould wrote about The Trinity of Fundamentals by Wisam Rafeedie,

translated by Muhammad Tutunji and the Palestinian Youth Movement, for The Markaz Review.

Jenny Shank reviewed Sister Marya Grathwohl’s This Wheel of Rocks: An Unexpected Spiritual Journey, the memoir of an environmental Franciscan sister, for Jesuit Media Lab

Carr Harkrader reviewed Exurbia Now: The Battleground of American Democracy by David Masciotra for NewCity.

Abby Walthausen reviewed Ishion Hutchinson’s School of Instructions in the print edition of Rain Taxi.

Frank Housh reviewed Catherine Hanley’s 1217: The War That Saved England for Media Room.

Tom Peebles reviewed Susan Neiman’s Left Is Not Woke on his personal blog.

Jim Schley reviewed Julia Alvarez’s The Cemetery of Untold Stories for Seven Days.

Ricardo Santiago Soto reviewed Roseann O’Reilly Runte’s Canadians Who Innovate for Ricardo Reviews.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub reviewed Kimberly King Parsons’ We Were the Universefor The Boston Globe.

Member Interviews

Eric Olson wrote a profile of Noé Álvarez for The Seattle Times.

Clea Simon interviewed Caroline Leavitt about her new novel Days of Wonder for The ArtsFuse.

NBCC Co-Vice President/Events Jane Ciabattari’s Literary Hub conversation with Claire Messud about her new novel, This Strange Eventful History, focused on writing the past: “The past lives with us, in us, and our understanding of the present is shaped by that past, whether we know it or not.”

Elaine Szewczyk profiled Laura van den Berg for Publishers Weekly.

NBCC Vice President/Online Michael Schaub interviewed Marie Mutsuki Mockett for the Orange County Register.

Member News

Ben Fountain has been awarded the 2024 Joyce Carol Oates Prize. His most recent book is the novel Devil Makes Three.

Gina Frangello’s sixth book, Elena Ferrante’s The Neapolitan Novels, will be released July 9 as part of Ig Publishing’s “Bookmarked” series. You can read the Kirkus review here.

Rebecca Brenner Graham’s first book, Dear Miss Perkins: A Story of Frances Perkins’s Efforts to Aid Refugees From Nazi Germany, will be published by Kensington on Jan. 21, 2025, and is available for preorder. 

Abby Walthausen has launched a podcast, A Lovely Wallpaper, about committing poetry to memory. She interviews people about their relationship to a poetic text, to learning by heart, and then chop up the poem (as read by the guest) into a kind of “guided memorization” format. So far she’s talked to Susie Boyt, Catherine Robson, and Jos Kley.

Joan Gelfand won a Literary Titan book award for her Outside Voices: A Memoir of the Berkeley Revolution.

“Munro’s Books” by juni is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.