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Eula Biss Named Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award

Northwestern artist in residence nominated for her 2009 collection of essays.

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February 12, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University artist in residence Eula Biss has been named a finalist for the prestigious 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism for "Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays."

An exploration of America's complicated racial landscape, "Notes from No Man's Land" was described in the Los Angeles Times as "a beautiful exercise in consciousness." Biss teaches nonfiction writing in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

The winner of a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award, an Illinois Arts Council Award and a Pushcart Prize, Biss is co-founder and co-editor of Essay Press. The small press is dedicated to publishing innovative essays in book form.

Biss' essays have appeared in "The Best American Nonrequired Reading," Harper's, the Iowa Review, "Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction" and other publications. "Notes from No Man's Land" was published by Graywolf Press. "The Balloonists," her first book, was published by Hanging Loose Press in 2002.

The undergraduate creative writing program in Northwestern's English department will celebrate its 30th anniversary in April. The program -- which has a strong national reputation -- recently added a creative nonfiction track to its long-established curriculum in poetry and fiction. Among the writers it has nurtured are National Book Award winner Dan Chaon, the multi-faceted poets Anne-Marie Cusac and Joshua Weiner, and the daring prose writer Nick Reding.

The National Book Critics Circle consists of approximately 600 book reviewers around the country. Its awards will be given out March 11.