Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

News, trends, and the future of publishing

Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby steve » 16 Oct 2010, 09:53

Rick Moody took some heat many years ago for winning and accepting a Pushcart prize. He's from a wealthy family, and people cried foul.

Now Nicole Krauss has been nominated for a National Book Award, and I'm wondering if similar sentiments will arise.

Should wealthy writers win literary awards?
Read one of the best stories by Borges.
User avatar
steve
 
Posts: 204
Joined: 25 Jun 2010, 21:09
Location: Web City

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Jessa » 16 Oct 2010, 10:05

... Er, if their books are good, yeah.
Jessa
 
Posts: 37
Joined: 04 Oct 2010, 21:42

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Evelyn » 16 Oct 2010, 10:11

I agree. If they win on the merits of their writing, then in my opinion, they won...
User avatar
Evelyn
 
Posts: 65
Joined: 06 Oct 2010, 09:01
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Margo » 16 Oct 2010, 11:07

Me three. Best writer should win.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/
Margo
 
Posts: 1712
Joined: 05 Apr 2010, 08:21

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby maybegenius » 16 Oct 2010, 12:16

Agreed, yeah. It's a literary award, not a grant. And speaking of grants, those are available for writers, as well. And I would say wealthy writers probably shouldn't win writing grants.
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary
User avatar
maybegenius
 
Posts: 349
Joined: 07 Dec 2009, 14:49
Location: Northern California

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby steve » 17 Oct 2010, 09:17

Please tell me how winning the National Book Award -- a $10,000 prize and subsequent boost in book sales -- will help a multimillionaire writer, as opposed to a less fortunate one.

Off topic, there are two writers with independent-published books up for the award this year. I'm hoping Karen Tei Yamashita and her book "I Hotel" [Coffee House Press] wins the NBA.
Read one of the best stories by Borges.
User avatar
steve
 
Posts: 204
Joined: 25 Jun 2010, 21:09
Location: Web City

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Down the well » 17 Oct 2010, 09:31

The National Book Award isn't a contest for underprivileged writers. It's not based on economic status. It makes no difference if the winner is wealthy or not. Grants, as Maybegenius pointed out, are a different story. Hands off if you don't need the money.
Down the well
 
Posts: 516
Joined: 10 Jun 2010, 12:22

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Margo » 17 Oct 2010, 12:01

Down the well wrote:The National Book Award isn't a contest for underprivileged writers. It's not based on economic status. It makes no difference if the winner is wealthy or not. Grants, as Maybegenius pointed out, are a different story. Hands off if you don't need the money.


Yep, pretty much.

Putting 'starving' in front of 'writer' doesn't make them the best writer by default any more than being published by an independent book publisher does. Is the point of the award to acknowledge skill, punish a company, or nurture struggling underexposed talent?
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/
Margo
 
Posts: 1712
Joined: 05 Apr 2010, 08:21

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby maybegenius » 17 Oct 2010, 14:52

I'm not sure I follow, steve. If a millionaire wrote the best book to come out in a given year, they should be automatically discounted for literary merits on the basis of not "needing" prize money? Doesn't that undermine the spirit of an award for literary skill?

Or are you arguing that wealthy people who win awards only win because they have the money to garner more exposure for their novel in the first place? I don't intend to defend the wealthy and their privilege, but the argument feels a little like "People of privilege cannot possibly have the soul/talent of those who suffer, for they do not suffer themselves." It's a step away from saying that *I* should not win literary merits because I grew up firmly middle class, and I don't "need" that money, either. It'd give nice breathing room, but I don't "need" it. Out of curiosity, how would your opinion change if these literary awards didn't come with prize money at all?

How will it help? Perhaps in further validating and commending that writer's work, something to which I believe most of us aspire. If Karen Tei Yamashita wrote the best book, then I hope she wins, as well.
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary
User avatar
maybegenius
 
Posts: 349
Joined: 07 Dec 2009, 14:49
Location: Northern California

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Bron » 18 Oct 2010, 03:33

I'm with the others. Wealth shouldn't preclude someone from winning a literary award, if their book is good enough. I clicked the link and raised my eyes at the idea that they each needed their own floor, but awards are about the books, not who needs the money. Grants are another story, as has already been mentioned.
Bron
 
Posts: 71
Joined: 21 Dec 2009, 16:21

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby steve » 18 Oct 2010, 08:05

maybegenius wrote:I'm not sure I follow, steve. If a millionaire wrote the best book to come out in a given year, they should be automatically discounted for literary merits on the basis of not "needing" prize money? Doesn't that undermine the spirit of an award for literary skill?

Not sure I follow my own question either, just throwing it out there.

But since the "best book" almost NEVER wins a literary award, why not give it to the poor schlub? Prize winners are usually proven worthless as years pass by. What we consider great books now were largely ignored/misunderstood when they were published, and won nothing.

All things being equal, giving literary awards to poor schlubs makes sense to me.
Read one of the best stories by Borges.
User avatar
steve
 
Posts: 204
Joined: 25 Jun 2010, 21:09
Location: Web City

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby maybegenius » 18 Oct 2010, 08:24

I'm afraid that's the thing, though... these aren't awards for the novels that will become the future classics, because there's really no way for us to know now which works will survive the ages. The awards today are for literary merit as we judge it in the here and now. And unfortunately it's arguable that the best book never wins... that's kind of a drawback when attempting to judge art. It'll always be subjective. My opinion of the best work probably won't match yours, and that won't match the critics, and that won't match the judges, on and on.
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary
User avatar
maybegenius
 
Posts: 349
Joined: 07 Dec 2009, 14:49
Location: Northern California

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Mira » 18 Oct 2010, 22:16

Steve, I'm with you. I don't think wealthy people should be allowed to write, much less enter awards for writing. It distracts them from thinking of ways to give away their money - which is the only true occupation which should....um, occupy them.
User avatar
Mira
 
Posts: 1354
Joined: 07 Dec 2009, 07:59

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby hulbertsfriend » 18 Oct 2010, 23:02

Economic condition has nothing to do with the quality of someone's work. To say that monetary-literary awards should have a barrier to entry or qualification, on any basis, is shocking in the very least, sad at best. T.S. Eliot wouldn't have qualified, E.B. Browning would have been shown the door. Maybe nobility should be added, whoops! There goes Joseph Conrad. Memoirs not included? Hope not, or their goes the likes of Churchill. JFK was filthy rich, yet he wrote a book that won hearts and minds, as well as a monetary award.

I mention great authors of the past, because I believe writing is a legacy art. We are the sum total of those that came before us. Has so much changed, that someone could feel bitter about an award, won by effort, because the author is wealthy and the award comes with dollars? The struggling author is made more remarkable by circumstances that gave rise to their work. I applaud louder for the underdog when they win, because it proves that all is fair. Let me repeat that.... All is fair.

DougM
Last edited by hulbertsfriend on 20 Oct 2010, 08:37, edited 1 time in total.
"All it takes to fly is to hurl yourself at the ground... and miss." Douglas Adams
User avatar
hulbertsfriend
 
Posts: 69
Joined: 13 Jul 2010, 15:44
Location: New Mexico

Re: Should wealthy writers win literary awards?

Postby Truth and Fiction » 20 Oct 2010, 07:57

Agree with everyone else that a writers' bank account has nothing to do with it. (Kind of like when people get upset that "good" or semi-established writers win short story contests. Yeah, if all the fast runners stayed home from the race, I might have a chance of winning too.)

But thank you, Steve, for mentioning Karen Tei Yamashita's new book. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Through the Arc of the Rainforest years ago, and wasn't aware of I Hotel. I'll have to check it out.
User avatar
Truth and Fiction
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 07:35

Next

Return to All Things Publishing and Self-Publishing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron