Xiaolu Guo

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“I found this liberation from the limitation…” In this Asia Society video, Xiaolu Guo explains why writing in English, her second language, is so freeing. Guo is the winner of the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography for her memoir, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China (Grove Press, 2017).

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

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"It's sort of weird, being honored for the worst day of your life." Watch the trailer for the film adaptation of Ben Fountain's novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. The film is directed by Ang Lee with a screenplay by Jean-Christophe Castelli.

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Paul Beatty

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"I suppose that's exactly the problem—I wasn't raised to know any better." Novelist and poet Paul Beatty reads from his novel The Sellout (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), which was awarded the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction, at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. Beatty is also a finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

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Dreamland

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"In 1929, three decades into what were the great years for the blue-collar town of Portsmouth, on the Ohio River, a private swimming pool opened and they called it Dreamland." Journalist Sam Quinones discusses his book Dreamland: The True Story of America's Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury, 2015), which was awarded the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction.

The Singing Knives

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"Jimmy ran down the road / With the knife in his mouth / He was naked / And the moon / Was a dead man floating down the river..." Listen to "The Singing Knives," a poem by Frank Stanford, read by his good friend Bill Willett. Stanford's posthumous collection What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford (Copper Canyon Press, 2015) is shortlisted for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award.

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Maggie Nelson

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​"I feel like a subject chooses you—chooses me—probably based out of reading and life, both." Maggie Nelson talks about the process of writing her most recent ​book, The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, 2015), in an interview with Leah Newsom at the 2015 NonfictioNow Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona. Nelson is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for the criticism prize.

Ben Fountain

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Ben Fountain reads from his novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, 2012), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, at the 2012 National Book Award finalists reading in New York City. Fountain will join the Why We Write panel on January 9 at Poets & Writers Live in Austin, Texas.

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