This morning, on NPR, Lynn Neary reported on the National Book Awards, saying, “In recent years, the National Book Awards have been criticized for nominating too many little known authors and ignoring big names. The award, some people whispered not too softly, was losing its allure.”
I found myself rather struck by this comment. Isn’t the point of book awards to reward those who are doing great writing and to alert the public at large as to new and exciting works in the writing world? If we ignore the new authors in favor if just the “big names”, the well-known authors who are constantly in the spotlight, doesn’t that just create a veritable masturbation circle rather than a progressive community of authors? Doesn’t it also remove the prestige from the award and make it simply an annual hot-potato game between a select few? We who love to read surely want the writing world to grow and develop authors who are producing an ever-expanding treasure trove for both ourselves and others, and that can hardly be done if we refuse to acknowledge the work and success of “new authors” who have created wonderful works and built amazing worlds.
I am in great favor of new and emerging authors being honored at the National Book Awards and other similar honors. Some of my favorite authors are ‘new’ authors on the scene, only a handful of years into their publishing careers. Authors such as Erin Morgenstern and Diana Setterfield who have worked so hard to create engrossing worlds continue to hone their craft and work to create even more wonderful worlds for us readers to explore. Why should authors like them not be as readily honored with prestigious awards as those who have run the track for years?
Granted, that is just my opinion, but I think it’s at least worth a point or two.
Citation: Neary, Lynn. ” ‘Round House,’ ‘Forevers’ Win National Book Awards”. NPR. 15 November 2012. <http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=165186998>. 15 November 2012.