The National Book Awards Are a Monolith

The National Book Awards Are a Monolith

L.A.’s Tess Gunty, Imani Perry among winners of 2022 National Book Awards

Los Angeles Times: “Literary agents and their authors are still scrambling to find their way in a culture of self-publishing. But they have found something: An audience.”

Time: “The national book awards have become a magnet for celebrity-obsessed fans, who are among the biggest buyers of books. But those readers are far from a monolithic group.”

LA Times: “The literary establishment may not be fully satisfied. The Times’ Richard Florida told the Writers League of America in a letter Friday that ‘the literary awards system has not lived up to its promise for decades.’ He recommended that the awards be abolished.”

The New York Times: “The decision to put the award on the ballot, as it were, was a mistake. It seemed to me that the book industry and the academy had over-stepped the boundaries of what I thought was a properly functioning industry and what I thought should happen in the academy.”

NPR: “The winners of the National Book Awards are announced annually. It’s the only time in the modern awards season when the books are chosen, not by voters or literary journals, but by a panel of judges and the press,” writes Jon Segal.

And on this day, in 1852, the New York Times publishes, “The Story of a Negro Family, in the South, or Slave Life in the Plantations,” by Henry Bibb, as a serial.

The Times continues, with a note saying “One family,” and then this: “Mr. Bibb was a black man, he said, about sixty years of age. He was in the habit of writing a daily paper, the first one he had ever known to use a press.”

The next year, 1860, we have a report in the New York Times, “The African Slave Trade

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