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The Essential Ellen Willis a Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award

Jan 26, 2015

Willis_Essential coverThe University of Minnesota Press is thrilled at the news that The Essential Ellen Willis, a compilation of iconoclastic essays on politics and culture from pioneering rock music critic Ellen Willis, has been selected as a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle award in the "Criticism" category. The book is edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz.

The Essential Ellen Willis gathers writings that span forty years and are deeply engaged with the times in which they were first published, yet remain fresh and relevant amid today's seemingly intractable political and cultural battles. Whether addressing the women's movement, sex and abortion, race and class, or war and terrorism, Ellen Willis brought to each a distinctive attitude. Willis has been called "one of the few great critics of her generation" by Cornel West, and Jessica Valenti praises Willis for "cultural critiques [that] stand the test of time and fascinate over and over again." The Essential Ellen Willis has been well-received and reviewed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesThe American ProspectBookforum,New York magazine's The Cut, In These Times, NPR, DissentBitch, Elle, and Bust, among others.

"We couldn’t be more excited that The Essential Ellen Willis is a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle award," commented Doug Armato, Director of the University of Minnesota Press. "When we published Ellen’s pioneering rock and roll criticism in Out of the Vinyl Deeps — also an NBCC finalist in 2012— it was clear both to us and to her daughter and editor Nona Willis Aronowitz that the young readers who were discovering her for the first time wanted more.  Bringing together her mother's social, cultural, and feminist writings in The Essential Ellen Willis, Nona reminds us all that complex, nuanced thought is more brave and, finally, more forceful than the kind of polarized, simplistic rhetoric that dominates political writing today."

The NBCC award winners will be announced Thursday, March 12, 2015 at the New School in New York in a ceremony that is free and open to the public.  For a complete list of finalists, click here.

Click here to check out a video about The Essential Ellen Willis, with interviews from Irin Carmon, Jay Rosen, Jennifer Baumgardner, Alix Kates Shulman, Stanley Aronowitz, and Daphne Brooks.

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The Essential Ellen Willis