NEW YORK (AP) – Edward P. Jones, who ended a 10-year absence from publishing with his acclaimed novel “The Known World,” won the fiction prize Thursday night from the National Book Critics Circle.

Other awards Thursday went to Paul Hendrickson’s “Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy” for general nonfiction and William Taubman’s “Khrushchev: The Man and His Era,” for biography-autobiography. Rebecca Solnit’s “River of Shadows” won in the criticism category and Susan Stewart’s “Columbarium” was cited for poetry.

Studs Terkel, 91, the oral historian and self-described champion of the “uncelebrated,” received a lifetime achievement prize.

“The Known World,” the story of black slave owner and the plantation’s collapse after his death, was a finalist last fall for the National Book Awards and is now in its eighth printing, with 100,000 copies in print.

Jones won the PEN/Hemingway Award in 1993 and was a finalist for the National Book Award for his first book, “Lost in the City,” a collection of short stories about life in 1950s-1970s Washington, where Jones grew up.

But he took years to get going on “The Known World.” He acknowledges being a slow worker who doesn’t like writing anything until he has the story constructed in his mind. He had a computer incompatible with other online systems. And sometimes, frankly, he didn’t feel like working.

“There were days I decided I wasn’t in the mood, so I just put it off,” he told The Associated Press last fall.

Monica Ali’s “Brick Lane,” Caryl Phillips’ “A Distant Shore,” Richard Powers’ “The Time of Our Singing” and Tobias Wolff’s “Old School” were the other fiction nominees.

Finalists in nonfiction categories included William T. Vollman’s seven-volume, 3,300-page “Rising Up and Rising Down” and Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others.”

Sontag’s book is a partial refutation of her influential “On Photography,” which won an NBCC award in 1978 and contended that repeated exposure to images of violence and suffering numb human emotions.

The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974, is a not-for-profit organization of about 750 book editors and critics. The NBCC awards are prestigious, if not profitable, offering no cash prizes.



On the Net:

NBCC: http://www.bookcritics.org/

AP-ES-03-04-04 1906EST



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.