Ban “Bravery” from Book Jackets


David Ulin at the LA Times makes interesting argument for retiring the word “brave” from jacket copy. Citing its overuse and the seeming dissonance of describing literature as brave in the face of countless acts of bravery in the world beyond books every day, Ulin argues that we do our authors a disservice with language that makes it sound “as if a writer were facing down some sort of fusillade every time he or she sat down to work.” He goes on suggest that we abandon the word to protest its chilling effect on genuine engagement with (and criticism of) the work:

This is my problem with “brave” and other words like it: They do not engage but rather insist. They are singular, anti-conversational, self-congratulatory even; they pre-digest our experience, before we get a chance to have it for ourselves.

Dinah Fay is a poet, copywriter, and social media maven living in Brooklyn. She is the co-host of the Brick City Speaks reading series in Newark, where she is pursuing an MFA in writing from Rutgers University. More from this author →