A full house of attendees packed into Koret Auditorium yesterday for this year's Northern California Book Awards, which included several Berkeley honorees.
The Northern California Book Review (NCBR), a volunteer association founded in 1972 and since dedicated to acknowledging and promoting excellent writing in the area, organized the event. In the spirit of intellectual cultivation, NCBR made one message clear; finally meeting the brightest literary figures in the Bay Area is as easy as showing up. Among those who attended were family members of winners and honorees, friends, students, and writers.
Author, journalist, food activist and cultural critic Michael Pollan received the Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature and Community honoring exceptional literary merit.
Barry Eichengreen (Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System) and Adam Hochschild (To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918) took honors for general nonfiction.
Other Berkeley writers receiving honors included:
- Edie Meidav, for fiction (Lola, California).
- Katherine Silver, for fiction translation (Tyrant Memory by Horacio Castellanos Moya)
- Andrea Lingenfelter for poetry translation (The Changing Room, by Zhai Yongming)
- Sandra M. Gilbert for creative nonfiction (Rereading Women: Thirty Years of Exploring Our Literary Traditions)
The audience was encouraged to show support for all the finalists, then follow them to a reception and book signing across the hall.
Sedge Thomspon ("West Coast Live") introduced each author, poet, or translator before signaling the honorees to leave the room and for the audience to erupt in applause. Each award winner remarked briefly about their appreciation for the organization and read short passages from their works.
At the book signing and reception that followed, a mixed crowd of about 100 included critics and book lovers alike buzzed energetically. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the conversation in the room revealed how powerful a bond books really are in people’s lives.