Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich honoured at National Book Critics Circle Award ceremony

atwood-lifetimeachievement-bookcritics.pngMargaret Atwood accepts the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award in New York. (Julie Jacobson/Canadian Press)

Margaret Atwood and American writer Louise Erdrich were among the honorees at the National Book Critics Circle's annual awards ceremony on March 16, 2017.

Erdrich received the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for her novel LaRose.

The "haunting novel" follows two close Native American families grappling with a hunting accident that results in the death of a 5-year-old boy. 

Margaret Atwood was honoured with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given semi-regularly to an author who has made a significant contribution to book culture. Past winners include Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates.

The New York Times reported that Atwood, whose 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale has made a comeback on international bestseller lists since Donald Trump's inauguration, delivered "the evening's most memorable and grim political forecast."

"Never has American democracy felt so challenged, never have there been so many intents from so many sides of the political spectrum to shout down the voices of others," Atwood said when accepting the award.

The National Book Critics Circle Awards are announced annually in March and are chosen by over 700 book critics from newspapers, magazines and online publications.

The other winners of the evening included:

  • General Nonfiction: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • Autobiography: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • Biography: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
  • Criticism: White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • Poetry: House of Lords and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson
  • John Leonard Prize, for a debut book: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
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