Posts Tagged: National Book Awards
When literary gatekeepers and publishers continue to overlook the vast diversity of writers, the special few who make it into elite spaces are constantly compared to one another in both flattering and troubling ways.
Jacqueline Woodson responds to Daniel Handler’s racist watermelon joke at the National Book Awards with a moving and direct piece in the New York Times. She neither condemns nor forgives Handler, but instead focuses on her personal history with the watermelon joke, the positive direction of diversity in publishing, and her mission in writing:
This mission is what’s been passed down to me — to write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of.
Daniel Handler’s (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) recent racist joke at the National Book Awards exposed an uncomfortable truth about the American publishing industry: its overwhelming whiteness. For the industry to survive, it must embrace diversity. Over at the Guardian, Carole DeSanti points out that regardless of changes in the business of publishing, what matters is the content:
…any gains in the format and pricing wars are going to be wiped out if content is less and less relevant to the way people live, who we are, and what we aspire to be.
In essence, the American Book Awards are to the National Book Awards as New Coke is to Coca-Cola Classic, i.e., a complete fucking disaster, one that all parties involved would prefer to forget.
The Paris Review takes a look at the brief, dark moment when the National Book Awards tried to re-brand themselves....more
On Wednesday evening, Phil Klay’s Redeployment won the National Book Award for fiction, making it the first short story collection to win the award since Andrea Barrett’s Ship Fever in 1996. That’s 18 years. But what’s maybe more startling is that the collection, which takes multiple perspectives of people involved in and returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, stands nearly alone as a fictional account that has risen to the national level of attention since the war in Afghanistan began in 2003....more
In her speech at the National Book Awards on Wednesday, Ursula K. Le Guin shares her Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters with “all the writers who were excluded from literature for so long,” blasts the commercialization of literature and the greed of publishers, and predicts:
I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now .
The 2011 National Book Award winners have been announced. Here they are:
Fiction: Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA)
Nonfiction: Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (W. W. Norton & Company)
Poetry : Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split (TriQuarterly, an imprint of Northwestern University Press)
Young People’s Literature: Thanhha Lai, Inside Out & Back Again (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
You can check out the footage of last night’s NBA ceremony here....more
This week in New York the Rumpus and Tin House present MORE THAN YOU EXPECTED with Rick Moody, Starlee Kine and Eugene Mirman followed by a meteor shower, Martin Amis and Chip Kidd celebrate Nabokov’s work with special exhibit of The Original of Laura, Pseudo-Futurist video game improvisation, a week of events centered on National Book Awards, Bob Dylan performs, artist Terence Koh talks at National Arts Club, Greil Marcus live in one-man show—Lipstick Traces, Cinema 16 presents Tom Smith’s masterpiece Solar System, along with PSA’s from the 60s with live musical accompaniment, and SCORE!...more