PEN America and the National Book Critics Circle announced this week that they have nominated English professor Hisham Matar’s book, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between, as a finalist for their annual awards. The memoir, which details Matar’s journey to his native Libya in search of answers regarding his father’s imprisonment and eventual disappearance, also appeared on several “Best of 2016” lists by prominent news outlets including The New York Times and Financial Times. Matar, who is also the founder of the Barnard International Artists Series, was shortlisted in 2016 for the Baillie Gifford Prize, Britain's most-prestigious award for creative non-fiction.
In addition to these nominations, Matar was also named the winner of France's new "Prix du Livre Etranger" (Foreign Book Prize), conferred by radio station France Inter and Le Journal du Dimanche, the weekly newspaper.
The National Book Critics Circle Award is awarded by a jury of book critics and editors to authors in each of six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Finalists will read selections from their works on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at The New School in New York City; the award ceremony will take place on the following evening in the same location.
The PEN America/Jean Stein Book Award honors one book each year for its “originality, merit, and impact.” The ceremony for this prestigious award will take place on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at The New School in New York City. An anonymous panel of judges reviews each work and confers $75,000 to the winner.