NEW YORK (AP) – “Gilead,” Marilynne Robinson’s poetic, modern-day testament of a dying Iowa preacher, won the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction Friday night.

“I could not be more delighted,” said an emotional Robinson, whose novel was her first since she debuted in 1980 with the acclaimed “Housekeeping.” She thanked critics for welcoming a book that was “quiet” and “probably a little arcane.”

Bob Dylan, a finalist for the biography/autobiography prize for his memoir “Chronicles, Vol. 1,” did not attend and did not win. The award was given to “De Kooning: An American Master,” by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. Music did prevail in the criticism category, with Patrick Neate winning for “Where You’re At: Notes From the Frontline of a Hip-Hop Planet.”

Diarmaid MacCulloch’s “The Reformation: A History” won for general nonfiction, while Adrienne Rich, winner of the National Book Award and other honors in her long career, was cited in poetry for “The School Among the Ruins.”

A lifetime achievement award was given to Louis D. Rubin, Jr., a prolific author and founder of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a North Carolina-based publisher known for such Southern writers as Jill McCorckle and Clyde Edgerton. David Orr, whose poetry reviews have appeared in The New York Times and Poetry magazine, received an honorary prize for criticism.

The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974, is a not-for-profit organization of about 600 book editors and critics. An NBCC award brings plenty of prestige, but no cash.

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AP-ES-03-18-05 2016EST

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