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Edith Pearlman takes the NBCC fiction prize

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(Read caption) The National Book Critics Circle called the release of Pearlman's collection of short stories 'a triumph for Pearlman’s distinctive storytelling.'

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Author Edith Pearlman won the 2011 Fiction prize at the National Book Critics Circle Awards, which were given out Thursday night.

Pearlman was awarded the prize for her short story collection “Binocular Vision,” the publication of which the NBCC called “a triumph for Pearlman’s distinctive storytelling, bringing it to a larger audience." Monitor fiction critic Yvonne Zipp found "Binocular Vision" to be "among the best [short story collections] I've ever read."

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Pearlman’s work was the first book released by her publisher, Lookout Books.

“Little presses and little magazines are dedicated to keeping literature alive,” Pearlman said during her acceptance speech. “And they deserve thanks from every writer tonight, particularly from me.”

The nonfiction prize went to “Liberty’s Exiles,” a book examining the lives of Loyalists in America after the Revolutionary War, by Maya Jasanoff. Writer Mira Bartok took the autobiography award for her book “The Memory Palace,” saying, “I guess more than 10 people read the book. I think that's kind of cool,” during her acceptance speech.

John Lewis Gaddis’ book “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” focusing on the life of the American diplomat, won the award for a biography. Monitor critic Christopher Hartman called this biography "indispensable" in his review. Writer Laura Kasischke won the poetry prize for her collection “Space, in Chains,” while Geoff Dyer’s book “Otherwise Known as the Human Condition” took the award for criticism.

The prizes were awarded in New York at the New School.

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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