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Ben Fountain, Our Favorite of 2012, Among NBCC Prize Winners

By Dennis Abrams

The National Book Critics Circle Awards were given out on Thursday night at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium. And here are the winners:

Fiction: Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco). It was a book we tipped for prizes in the middle of last year and one of our favorites of 2012.

Nonfiction: Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner)

Autobiography: Leanne Shapton, Swimming Studies (Blue Rider Press)

Criticism: Marina Warner, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights (Belknap Press: Harvard University Press)

Biography: Robert Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Alfred A. Knopf)

Poetry: D.A. Powell, Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (Graywolf Press) (Watch a video of the poet reading.)

Of note:

Robert Caro is now a three time winner, having previously received the award for the first and second volumes of his epic life of President Lyndon B. Johnson. (The third volume was a finalist.)

Only two winners were present to receive their awards:  Andrew Solomon and Ben Fountain.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Journalist-author Jerry Pinto received The Hindu Literary Prize 2012 for his novel Em and the Big Hoom (Aleph Book Company).  The book, Pinto’s first work of fiction, tells the tale of how a four-member family copes with the mother’s manic depression.

The novel, was described in The Hindu as being “written in English in Indian vernacular,” and cited as “a rare example of someone who had worked through an experience going on to create a work of fiction to share that experience with the world.

On receiving his award from the former chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, Sharmila Tagore, Mr. Pinto said, “Things don’t get better than this.”

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