Adichie's 'Americanah' Wins National Book Critics Award

March 19, 2014– The acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose previous works include "Half of a Yellow Sun," "The Thing Around Your Neck" and "Purple Hibiscus," was named the winner of the National Book Critics Circle fiction prize for "Americanah," the Contra Costa Times reported March 19. Her novel about a young Nigerian woman in the United States on a university scholarship beat out Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch," Ruth Ozeki's "A Tale for the Time Being," Alice McDermott's "Someone" and a work in translation, Javier Marias' "The Infatuations."

The winner of the nonfiction award was Sheri Fink, for her book about Hurricane Katrina, "Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death In a Storm-Ravaged Hospital," Leo Damrosch won the biography prize for "Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World," and Amy Wilentz's "Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti" took the autobiography prize. The poetry award went to Frank Bidart's "Metaphysical Dog," and Franco Moretti won in the criticism category for his "Distant Reading."

The inaugural John Leonard award for a debut book in any genre, named for the late critic and founding member of the NBCC, went to "A Constellation of Vital Phemonema," a novel by Anthony Marra.

— Sue Gilmore, Staff, 
Contra Costa Times