There Needs to be an Oscars Ceremony for Books

Before I start, yes, I know there are already slews of awards for books. There is even the National Book Awards, which has all kinds of categories and a ceremony every year. Yes, that’s all true, but I don’t care.

trophy

For one thing, the National Book Awards (NBA) are even more obscure than the Oscars. I consider myself an avid reader but when I went through the list of ALL the NBA winners from 1950 to the present, I had barely heard of any of them and I had only read two (Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: 1961-Nonfiction, and Holes: 1998-Young People’s Literature). Both of these were good books, but I don’t think anyone would contend that book awards are as glitzy as TV or movie awards.

But they should be.

Some things are going to need to change. Here is my idea. I think together we can make them happen.

1. Design a Whole New Awards Show

This is all about branding. We need a new show with a distinctive name for the awards. Taking after the Golden Globes, you could call it the Golden Pen (even though Golden Keyboard might be more accurate these days). Personally, I prefer the Bookies. It has shock value and common sense wrapped up into one. But, of course, that exists already as well. Maybe the Inkies? Any better ideas?

They need to be televised too. I don’t care if they won’t have the market of the other awards shows, it’s just got to happen. And I don’t mean on PBS either. To get this done, we need to make a grand, garish spectacle of it. Grotesque even. I want to see Stephen King juggling chainsaws on stage and Neil Gaiman doing an interpretive dance to Ke$ha. Who wouldn’t want to see that, right?

2. Make Interesting Categories

The National Book Awards have all the categories you’d expect: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, various genres, etc. That’s all fine, but if the Oscars have Best Makeup and Best Film Editing, what can books have? Here are some suggestions:

  • Best Protagonist
  • Best Villain
  • Best Supporting Character
  • Best Illustrations
  • Best Cover Art
  • Best Passage of Description
  • Best Passage of Dialogue
  • Best Twist Ending

The problem with that last one is that they couldn’t reveal the twist ending without everyone who hadn’t read it yet being really annoyed, but maybe it’s their own fault if they’re watching/attending the awards and haven’t read all the nominations yet.

3. Bring Authors into Pop Culture

I’ll bet the number of authors you could pick out of a lineup are so small you could count them on your fingers. At least the living ones. That’s the problem with authors; they hide behind their words. Okay, so it’s not really a problem but it is if we want a huge, red-carpet awards ceremony where everyone discusses what Amy Tan was wearing the next day. We need tabloids that only follow author scandals and paparazzi who follow around China Mieville or John Grisham to find out what they’re up to. The writers have to play their part too, of course, and not just go to the grocery store and hang out at the bookstore for three hours. It would at least make me watch TMZ.

What do you think? Any nominations for me?

And the award goes to…

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About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

7 responses to “There Needs to be an Oscars Ceremony for Books

  • Amy Reese

    Yes! Why not? Why isn’t there? This is a great idea. People get excited when Oprah talks about books. Look at all the excitement she creates. I think it’s possible. Hey, maybe people would start reading more books.

  • Sheila Stewart

    I both completely agree and completely disagree. (Cause that’s how I roll.) Publishing is already shifting too much toward focusing marketing on writers who are are more “presentable” and good looking and those who can chat and flirt with the press without looking like they’re about to run and hide under a bed. So there’s that. But I totally agree, on the other hand. I just want us not to be shallow and stupid about it. (And, cynically, I’m not sure that’s possible in this culture.)

    • David Stewart

      Well, yes. I was rather tongue and cheek in my post, but I really like that authors as a whole tend to be better adjusted than most entertainers. There should be some way of recognizing more authors in a fun way without it becoming garish and tawdry.

      • Sheila Stewart

        Well, of course you were being tongue and cheek! This is you we’re talking about, after all! 🙂

        I’m not so sure about authors being better adjusted… Maybe just differently adjusted. But I’m picturing some pretty epic awards shows. With (somehow) no pretentiousness. I envision authors arriving either dressed in their “writing attire” (aka sweat pants and quirky t-shirt) or else wearing some of the new literary fashions that designers will all be clamoring to get the best authors to wear.

        • David Stewart

          Someone needs to either write an account of a writer’s award show ceremony or film it where they all show up with their cups of coffee or absinthe and jeans and T-shirts. And half the audience is tapping away on laptops during the speeches. It could be pretty funny.

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