Anna Burns, Zadie Smith among 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award winners

Anna Burns won the fiction category for her novel Milkman, while Zadie Smith took home the prize in the criticism category for Feel Free: Essays.
Anna Burns (left) and Zadie Smith are among the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Awards. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images, Dominique Nabokov)

Northern Irish novelist Anna Burns and British writer Zadie Smith were among the winners of the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Awards in New York on Thursday night, winning the fiction and criticism categories respectively.

The winners of these annual literary awards are selected by book critics from across the U.S.

Burns won the fiction prize for Milkmana novel following a young woman known only as "middle sister." She becomes the target of malicious gossip in her small town when a local paramilitary begins pursuing her, despite her attempts to keep him at bay. The book won the 2018 Man Booker Prize in October.

Smith took home the prize in the criticism category for the essay collection Feel Free, an examination of popular culture through the lenses of freedom, identity, race and class.

German graphic artist Nora Krug won the autobiography category for Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Homean illustrated and hand-lettered memoir that investigates her family's involvement in the Second World War.

The nonfiction prize was given to American journalist Steve Coll for Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan, which describes a series of small covert operations the U.S. carried out in Afghanstian prior to the 9/11 attacks.

American writer Ada Limón was awarded the poetry prize for her book The Carrying. This collection explores the human condition across a range of experiences, including a woman contemplating infertility and a daughter caring for aging parents.

The biography category went to Christopher Bonanos for Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous. The book tells the true story of a New York crime photographer with an uncanny knack for showing up at crime scenes just as police would arrive.

As announced in January, There There by Tommy Orange was recognized with The John Leonard Prize, which goes to an outstanding debut book in any genre.


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