Local Author and New England Public Radio Commentator Mira Bartok Receives the National Book Critics Circle Award
New England Public Radio is proud to announce that one of its commentators, author Mira Bartok, has received the prestigious National Book Critics Award for The Memory Palace: A Memoir (Free Press). The National Book Critics Circle says The Memory Palace "rose to the formal challenge of blending her mother's journals, reflections on her mother's mental illness and subsequent homelessness, and thoughts on her own recovery from a head injury to create a heartfelt yet respectful work of art." Winners for the publishing year 2011, were announced on Thursday, March 8 in New York City.
Bartok's commentaries are heard regularly on New England Public Radio, as part of the station's commentaries series. The series has featured commentators from around the region including Bartok, food writer T. Susan Chang, cartoonist Hilary Price, and sports writer Jeff Wagenheim on numerous topics of interest to New England Public Radio listeners. The series airs as part of locally-produced Morning Edition Extra, every Friday morning from 8:40 - 9:00 a.m. on 88.5FM WFCR.
"Mira Bartok was the first commentator we solicited to participate in the weekly commentary series that we launched last spring. She lives in western Massachusetts, and she visited our studios one day to tape an interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross," recalls New England Public Radio News Director Fred Bever. "I looked Ms. Bartok up online and was struck by the combination of visual artistry and poetic storytelling that characterizes her approach to life, so I asked her to consider working with us. Then I read her book, and I knew for sure she would be great. Our staff and our listeners are very lucky that she indeed agreed to put her thoughts on the air, and we wish her the heartiest congratulations for this recognition of her beautiful work."
"This is a huge honor, especially since it is a huge nod from the literary community since the nominations come straight from the literary critics," said Bartok. "At the big reception following the ceremony, when everyone asked me what I was working on right now, I proudly said two things: collaborating on a Young Adult novel with author Jane Yolen (I'm doing the illustrations) and writing some new radio commentaries for my favorite radio station, WFCR. So stay tuned for more little radio essays down the road. But for now, this week following the NBCC events, I am living out a life long dream-staying in a friend's upper westside apartment in New York City and drawing at the Met and at the Museum of Natural History each and every day!"
The National Book Critics Circle Award is presented annually in six categories: autobiography, fiction, non-fiction, biography, poetry, and criticism. The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature. It was founded in 1974 to encourage and raise the quality of book criticism in all media and to create a way for critics to communicate with one another about their professional concerns.
Morning Edition Extra and the rest of WFCR's programming can also be heard in the Berkshires at the following frequencies: 101.1FM (Adams/North Adams); 98.7FM (Great Barrington); 98.3FM (Lee); 106.1FM (Pittsfield); 96.3FM (Williamstown), and streaming live at nepr.net.
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