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New John Leonard Award for an Author’s First Book

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) has created the John Leonard Award, a literary prize celebrating one author’s first book–named after the late critic and NBCC founding member, John Leonard.

The first winner will be revealed at the NBCC’s 2014 awards ceremony. One author will be selected from a broad range of genres: fiction, nonfiction, biography, criticism, poetry, and autobiography. Here’s more about the award:

In naming the award, which will be selected directly by a vote of the NBCC’s nearly 500 members nationwide, the National Book Critics Circle honors the legacy of critic John Leonard, a former editor of the New York Times Book Review. A founding member of the NBCC, Leonard (1939–2008) is remembered not only for his voracious and enthusiastic criticism of books, film, and television but also for his life-long encouragement of younger critics and his unwavering attention to debut writers. One of the first American critics to write on Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Leonard shared his enthusiasms with a wide reading audience in a host of newspapers and magazines including New York, the Nation and Harper’s.

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