Proposed changes include declaring the NBCC anti-racist/anti-bias organization, giving additional voting powers to members, and more.
The Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle appointed fifteen board members on Tuesday, July 14, in accordance with the NBCC bylaws. These new board members were nominated through email by themselves or others and were recruited by the NBCC board. Five of the board members who resigned their positions earlier in the year were willing to rejoin the board, given the changes that are planned. The end result is billed as “the most diverse board in NBCC history and one of the most experienced.” In the fall, eight board slots will be up for election.
In a message to its members, the board will be sharing a draft of the amendments to the bylaws in order to solicit comments from members before voting on structural changes to the organization. Proposed changes include declaring the NBCC anti-racist/anti-bias organization, giving additional voting powers to members, and more.
The new board members with Texas ties are:
Diego Baez is a poet and critic based in Chicago. He is a 2010 inaugural fellow of CantoMundo, a national literary organization founded in San Antonio by Norma E. Cantú, Celeste Mendoza, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Deborah Paredez, and Carmen Tafolla. Baez recently completed the Emerging Critics fellowship with NBCC. His reviews have appeared in the Georgia Review and Spoon River Poetry Review, among others.
Rod Davis has worked in every kind of media—radio, television, wire service, newspapers, magazines, and books, in positions ranging from on-air reporter to senior writer to editor. He spent nine years teaching English, at UT-Austin and SMU, and was one of the first hires for the Texas Film Commission. He has written two novels and one nonfiction book. He began reviewing books in the seventies with the AP and the Texas Observer and continues most recently with The Baffler. Davis has also reviewed for Lone Star Lit.
Ben Olguín is primarily a poet but also just completed the first installment of a trilogy of nonfiction prose travel writing. His day job is as a professor of literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received an NEA grant to inaugurate the Voces Nuevas: New Latinx Authors Series. Previously, Olguín was a University of Texas at San Antonio associate professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing Program for nineteen years.
Olguín earned his B.A. at the University of Houston and has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2014, Olguín published Latina/os and WWII: Mobility, Agency, and Ideology, which he co-edited with University of Texas at Austin Professor Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez. Also in 2014, At the Risk of Seeming Ridiculous: Poems from Cuba Libre was published by San Antonio’s Aztlan Libre Press.
Richard Santos (also a Texan), VP/Membership, serves as official spokesperson for the NBCC board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. [Read an excerpt from his debut novel, Trust Me (Arte Público Press), here.]