Private: N.B.A.

The National Book Award winners have been announced. Shirley Hazzard won for fiction, but Stephen King’s speech upon his receipt of an honorary award has been the subject of most of the press. King evidently:

urged the book foundation not to make his award a case of “tokenism,” an isolated tribute to commercially successfully writers. And he called on the industry as a whole to pay more attention, saying he had no “use for those who make a point of pride in saying they have never read anything by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Mary Higgins Clark or any other popular writer.”

“What do you think,” he asked, “you get social academic brownie points for deliberately staying out of touch with your own culture?”

Hazzard disagreed, saying, in her own speech: “I don’t think giving us a reading list of those who are most read at this moment is much of a satisfaction.”