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Book Critics Circle awards finalists announced

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The late author Roberto Bolano and first-time author M. Glenn Taylor were among finalists for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle awards for 2008, to be presented in March, the organization announced on Saturday night.

Nominees in categories ranging from fiction, general nonfiction and biography to autobiography, poetry, and criticism included Dexter Filkins’s “The Forever War” (Knopf) and Jane Mayer’s “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,” both of which dealt with the Mideast crisis and its consequences.

Bolano, a Chilean novelist and poet who died in 2003 at the age of 50, was cited for the nearly 900-page “2666” (Farrar, Straus), his last novel, while Taylor’s “The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart,” published by West Virginia University Press, secured a nomination for the writer’s first book.

The biography category focused on U.S. history, including Paula Giddings’ “Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching” (Amistad), Annette Gordon-Reed’s “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family” (W.W. Norton), and Brenda Wineapple, “White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson” (Knopf).

Autobiography looked beyond U.S. borders, with Helene Cooper’s investigation “The House on Sugar Beach” (Simon & Schuster), an investigation of her Liberian roots, and Vietnam-born Andrew X. Pham’s “The Eaves of Heaven” (Harmony Books) receiving nominations. Criticism nominees included Richard Brody’s “Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard” (Metropolitan Books) and Seth Lerer’s “Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History: Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter” (University of Chicago Press).

Poetry included small-press titles such as Devin Johnston’s “Sources” (Turtle Point Press) and Pierre Martory’s “The Landscapist” (Sheep Meadow Press), translated by John Ashbery.

Other fiction finalists were Marilynne Robinson for “Home” (Farrar, Straus), Aleksandar Hemon for “The Lazarus Project” (Riverhead) and Elizabeth Strout for “Olive Kittredge” (Random).

Nonfiction finalists included Dexter Filkins’ “The Forever War” (Knopf), Drew Gilpin Faust’s “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War” (Knopf), Jane Mayer’s “The Dark Side” (Doubleday), Allan Lichtman’s “White Protestant Nation” (Atlantic) and George C. Herring for “From Colony to Superpower: US Foreign Relations Since 1776” (Oxford University Press).

The National Book Critics Circle also announced that the winner of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award is the Pen American Center, while Washington Post reviewer Ron Charles won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

Other finalists for biography were Steve Coll, “The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family In An American Century” (Penguin Press), Patrick French, “The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul” (Knopf), Annette Gordon-Reed, “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family” (Norton), and Brenda Wineapple, “White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson” (Knopf).

The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974, consists of some 700 active book reviewers. Winners will be announced on March 12, 2009 in Manhattan.

Reporting by Christopher Michaud, editing by Philip Barbara