Safiya Sinclair, Jonny Steinberg win at US National Book Critics Circle Awards 2023

Safiya Sinclair, Jonny Steinberg win at US National Book Critics Circle Awards 2023

Safiya Sinclair and Jonny Steinberg won at the National Book Critics Circle Awards 2023 in New York, USA on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

The National Book Critics Circle celebrates the best books published in the past year in the United States since 1974. Finalists are nominated, evaluated, and selected by the 24-member board of directors consisting of critics and editors from some of the country’s leading print and online publications, and critics whose works appear in these publications. Nicole R. Fleetwood, francine j. harris, and Raven Leilani won in 2020 while Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie won in 2013.

The National Book Critics Circle announced this year’s finalists in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, general nonfiction, and poetry—for the best books of 2023 on Thursday, January 25. The winners were then announced on Thursday, March 21.

National Book Critics Circle President Heather Scott Partington said, “We celebrate your imagination, your fearlessness, and your persistence. Your words are essential, particularly in this time of division and censorship.”

The Writers of African descent who won in their categories are;

Autobiography

  • How to Say Babylon: A Memoir, Safiya Sinclair, (Simon & Schuster)

Committee member Jane Ciabattari stated, “Safiya Sinclair’s intimately crafted memoir is unforgettable and a shining example of why poets should write prose. The Eden of Sinclair’s Jamaican childhood is irrevocably altered under her father’s strict Rastafarian upbringing which first constrains, and then threatens, her life. Discovering the power of her own voice sets her free.”

Safiya Sinclair said, “I’m beyond grateful. Thank you so much to the @bookcritics for this extraordinary honour! Thank you to my team @SimonBooks for helping to bring this book into the world, and my deepest thanks to my family for allowing me to share our story with the world. 💚✨”

Biography

  • Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage, Jonny Steinberg, (Knopf)

Committee chair Elizabeth Taylor noted that “Steinberg’s deeply insightful, painstakingly researched Winnie and Nelson unmasks the Mandelas, sliding past their public mythos, and the simpler romantic narrative they told each other, to reveal the emotional labyrinth beneath. With its exploration of two radically different approaches to apartheid, this beautiful biography speaks movingly to present-day struggles for racial justice.”

Jonny Steinberg said, “I am so very thrilled to have received this recognition.”

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