'Wolf Hall' wins National Book Critics Circle Award

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The Independent Culture

On March 11, the winners of the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award were announced in New York City. Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall took the fiction award, and Joyce Carol Oates received her first ever lifetime achievement award at the ceremony.

Wolf Hall is Mantel's historical novel about English king Henry VIII's advisor Thomas Cromwell. The book won the 2009 Man Booker Prize, becoming the best-selling Booker winner in history.

Among other winners of the prestigious US prize were Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder, about British scientists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and Blake Bailey's biography of American author John Cheever. Both books were previously named among Publishers Weekly's top books of 2009.

Complete list of winners:

Fiction: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

Nonfiction: Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder

Autobiography: Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End

Biography: Blake Bailey, Cheever

Criticism: Eula Biss, Notes from No Man's Land

Poetry: Rae Armentrout, Versed

Founded in 1974, the National Book Critics Circle Award is among the US's most prestigious literary prizes, along with the Pulitzer and the PEN/Faulkner, for books published in English including translations. Last year's fiction winner was Roberto Bolaño's 2666, which was published in English translation in 2008.

NBCC winners in the categories of autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, and nonfiction are selected by more than 600 of the nation's literary critics.