Creative Writing’s Darin Strauss Wins National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography


Darin Strauss, a faculty member in New York University’s Creative Writing Program, has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography for his critically acclaimed Half a Life.

Creative Writing’s Darin Strauss Wins National Book Critics Circle Award
Darin Strauss, a faculty member in NYU's Creative Writing Program, has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography for his critically acclaimed Half a Life. Strauss, a novelist, takes a new turn in Half a Life (McSweeney’s Books), recounting how a high-school tragedy marked the beginning of a different, darker life for him.

Darin Strauss, a faculty member in New York University’s Creative Writing Program, has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography for his critically acclaimed Half a Life.

Strauss, a novelist whose previous works of fiction include Chang and Eng, The Real McCoy, and More than It Hurts You, takes a new turn in Half a Life (McSweeney’s Books). In it, the author recounts how a high-school tragedy marked the beginning of a different, darker life for him. Strauss’ exploration offers an examination of guilt, responsibility, and living with the past.

“What is truly exceptional here is watching a writer of fine fiction probe, directly, carefully, and with great humility, the source from which his fiction springs,” wrote the New York Times Book Review.

“Strauss’s story is a penetrating, thought-provoking examination of the human mind and the bleak, meandering path down which catastrophe can send it,” the Washington Post added.

The Chicago Tribune called the book “a memoir in its finest form.”

Three other NYU faculty were previously named National Book Critics Circle Finalists: Susie Linfield, an associate professor in NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, for The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence (criticism); Jennifer Homans, a Distinguished Scholar in Residence, for Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (nonfiction); and Anne Carson, a faculty member in NYU’s Creative Writing Program, for Nox (poetry).

Editor’s Note:

The NYU Creative Writing Program, among the most distinguished programs in the country, is a leading national center for the study of writing and literature. The undergraduate and graduate programs provide students with an opportunity to develop their craft while working closely with some of the finest poets and novelists writing today. The Creative Writing Program occupies a townhouse on West 10th Street in the same Greenwich Village neighborhood where so many writers have lived and worked. The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House allows writers—established and emerging—to share their work in an inspiring setting. For more, visit www.cwp.fas.nyu.edu.

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