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March 6
1772 - Spanish Capt. Pedro Fages arrives; camps at Agua Dulce, Castaic, Lake Elizabeth, Lebec, Tejon [story]
Pedro Fages


Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson, author and chair of CalArts’ Creative Writing Program, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism on Thursday, March 17, at the New School in New York City. She was honored for her 2015 book, “The Argonauts,” which is part memoir and part examination of gender, sexual politics and art.

Nelson was in good company as the Criticism category finalists also included: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me;” Leo Damrosch’s “Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake;” Colm Tóibín’s “On Elizabeth Bishop;” and James Wood’s “The Nearest Thing to Life.”

In his Vulture.com article, titled “The 2016 National Book Critics Circle Awards Reflected the Evolving Conversation About Diversity,” Boris Kachka writes:

The_Argonauts_Maggie_Nelson“Maggie Nelson’s book could not have been written even twenty years ago,” said Karen Long, the nonfiction chair. “I so appreciated her allowing me into what otherwise I would never know about.” Whether there’s enough diversity in the publishing industry or the books it produces, the critic has her own job to do. “I think criticism and discernment is about which direction you gaze,” said Long. “And so, look in a new direction, have a new life. We all will be embarrassed in twenty years about what we’ve been blind about.”

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), comprised of more than 700 critics and editors from newspapers, online media and magazines, was established in 1974 to build up the national conversation around reading, criticism and literature. The annual awards honor the best literature published in the U.S. in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

The full list of 2015 NBCC winners follows.

 

Poetry: Ross Gay, Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude;

Autobiography: Margo Jefferson, Negroland;

Biography: Charlotte Gordon, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley;

Nonfiction: Sam Quinones, Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic;

Fiction: Paul Beatty, The Sellout;

The John Leonard Prize (for outstanding first book): Kirstin Valdez Quade, Night at the Fiestas;

The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Carlos Lozada, associate editor and nonfiction book critic at The Washington Post; and

The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award: Wendell Berry.

 

About Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson (Ph.D. in English Literature, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York) is the author of five books of nonfiction and four books of poetry. Her most recent book is The Argonauts, a work of “autotheory” about gender, sexuality, sodomitical maternity, queer family, and the limitations and possibilities of language (Graywolf Press, May 2015). Her 2011 book of art and cultural criticism, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (W. W. Norton), was featured on the front cover of the Sunday Book Review of the New York Times, as well as named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and Editors’ Choice. Her other nonfiction books include the cult hit Bluets (Wave Books, 2009); a critical study of poetry and painting titled Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa Press, 2007; winner, the Susanne M. Glasscock Award for Interdisciplinary Scholarship), and an autobiographical book about sexual violence and media spectacle titled The Red Parts: A Memoir (Free Press, 2007; named a Notable Book of the Year by the State of Michigan). Her poetry books include Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007); Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull Press, 2005; finalist, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of Memoir), The Latest Winter (Hanging Loose Press, 2003), and Shiner (Hanging Loose, 2001; finalist, the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award). Her poetry has been widely anthologized, including in the Best American Poetry series.

Before joining the faculty of CalArts in 2005, Nelson lived for many years in New York City, where she taught literature and writing at Wesleyan University, Pratt Institute of Art, and the New School Graduate Writing Program. She has also taught on the faculty of the Tinhouse Summer Writers Workshop, the Community Arts Partnership Summer Arts Program, as well as being a featured guest at many writing conferences and festivals, including the New School’s Summer Writers Colony and the Juniper Institute. Recent essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Artforum, Bookforum, and Cabinet. Recent awards include a 2007 Arts Writers Grant from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation, a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a 2013 Innovative Literature grant from Creative Capital.

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT LINKS
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