Book critics circle postpones Manhattan awards ceremony

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NEW YORK (AP) — The National Book Critics Circle has postponed its annual awards reading and ceremony, both scheduled to take place in Manhattan later this week. The critics organization cited “the volatile nature of the current health crisis.”

“We are all crushed. We did not make this decision lightly,” NBCC President Laurie Hertzel said in a statement Monday. “We are looking forward to celebrating our winners at the rescheduled gala this fall.”

The awards will be announced in a press release Thursday. Critics have chosen five books in each of six competitive categories, from fiction to poetry. Finalists range from novels by Colson Whitehead and Ben Lerner to Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill: Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting about sexual abuse allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

An outbreak of the new coronavirus has prompted several cancellations of public events, including this week’s London Book Fair.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The National Book Critics Circle was founded in 1974 and includes hundreds of critics, authors, bloggers and other members of the book community.

On Monday, a spokeswoman for ReedPOP said BookExpo, the annual publishing convention, was still expected to take place in Manhattan at the end of May.

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