Two National Book Critics Circle award-honored novelists, Ben Fountain and Amy Tan, read from their work and talk with NBCC Vice President/Online Jane Ciabattari about inspiration, research, readers, awards, the unique challenges of first novels, and the imaginative process that gives their work originality. Since 1974, the National Book Critics Circle awards have honored the best literature published in English. These are the only awards chosen by the critics themselves.
Jane Ciabattari is author of the short story collection Stealing the Fire. Her stories have been honored with three Pushcart Prize special mentions. She is a National Book Critics Circle VP (NBCC President 2008-2011) and contributes to NPR.org, The Daily Beast, Boston Globe, The New York Times Book Review, among others.
Ben Fountain is the author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His story collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and a Whiting Writers’ Award. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Harper's, and the Paris Review, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.
Amy Tan’s novels are The Joy Luck Club, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and Saving Fish from Drowning, all New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa,The Chinese Siamese Cat, and numerous articles for magazines. Her work has been translated into thirty-five languages. Her most recent novel is The Valley of Amazement.
New York Times best selling author Amy Tan responds to how some men react to her books by accusing her of negative portrayals of men. " It just so happens in my family there are a lot of terrible men, and they are my source of inspiration," says Tan.