Marilynne Robinson can now add a National Book Critics Circle Award to her crowded trophy table. At the NBCC Awards ceremony held on Thursday, March 12, 2015, her novel Lila beat out formidable contenders Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings, Lily King’s Euphoria, and Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea to win the top fiction prize. Robinson’s first book Housekeeping, released in 1980, earned the PEN/Hemingway Award. Gilead won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished fiction, Home won the Orange (now Baileys) Prize in 2009. In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded her a 2012 National Humanities Medal for “her grace and intelligence in writing.”
Also honored that evening were Roz Chast’s autobiography Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, John Lahr’s biography Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, Ellen Willis’s book of criticism The Essential Ellen Willis, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz,
David Brion Davis’ nonfiction title The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, and Claudia Rankine’s book of poetry Citizen: An American Lyric.
Special awards were given to Alexandra Schwartz who received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, Phil Klay, whose Redeployment won the John Leonard Prize, and Toni Morrison who was feted with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.