From the Archives: The National Book Critics Circle Campaign to Save Book Reviewing, 2007

by Jane Ciabattari | Sep-08-2010

DOWNLOAD COMPLETE ARCHIVE VIA PDF

The National Book Critics Circle 2007 “Campaign to Save Book Reviewing,” launched April 23, 2007 as an initiative at the NBCC March 2007 board meeting, included more than 120 original blog posts from authors, critics, librarians, booksellers, passionate readers. With the help of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, we've migrated the content from the NBCC's original Critical Mass blog, which we started in April 2006, and created a downloadable archive of those blog posts, posted here.

These posts on Critical Mass over the first five weeks of the campaign offered a snapshot of American literary culture circa spring 2007, which was evolving faster than many readers, authors and book critics could absorb. Solicited from authors, editors, journalists, book critics and others involved with books and literature, the posts offered a diverse and wide‐ranging set of viewpoints‐‐as might be expected from a group of critics and passionate writers and readers. Among them: Richard Powers, George Saunders, Rick Moody, Lee Smith, Andrei Codrescu, Roxana Robinson, AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) president Catherine Brady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Richard Ford, Nadine Gordimer, Sara Paretsky, Stewart O'Nan, Nicholas Christopher, Bill Roorbach; book editors from the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Pittsburgh Post‐Gazette, the American Book Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Orleans Times Picayune, the Jewish Forward, as well as Bob Mong, editor of the Dallas Morning News, Mark Sarvas, who writes the literary blog The Elegant Variation, and Carrie Kania, who described an inclusive approach to getting the word out about books she publishes: print, radio, television, online, including MySpace pages, literary blogs, bookstore websites. (Read the archives and the comments after the blog posts for the flavor of the sometimes heated discourse.)

The campaign also included a series of related op ed pieces, editorials, interviews, literary blog posts, reports and reactions. To name a few: Salman Rushdie on the Colbert Report, Scott McLemee in insidehighered.com, Art Wallace in Huffington Post, Bookbabe Ellen Heltzel on Poynter.com, Michael Connelly in the Los Angeles Times, David Kipen in Salon, then NBCC president John Freeman, in The Guardian and in interviews on the BBC, NPR, Wisconsin Public Radio, and the Leonard Lopate show. Motoko Rich in The New York Times, "Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?" and The Los Angeles Times's Josh Getlin covered the campaign, and organizations including the AWP and individuals posted "Campaign"buttons in support (see above).

In part as a result of the Campaign, the NBCC was honored by the Association of American Publishers with its 2008 2008 AAP
Honors,
an 
award 
given
 annually
 to 
individuals 
and
 institutions
 outside
 the
 publishing 
industry
 for
 significant
 achievements 
in
 promoting
 American
 books 
and 
authors. In announcing the award, AP
 President 
and 
CEO
 Pat 
Schroeder 
said:

“Since
 its 
founding
 more 
than 
three
 decades 
ago,
the 
NBCC 
has 
played
 a
 central
 role
 in
 this
 country’s 
literary 
dialogue,
 but 
neve r
has 
its 
voice 
been
 stronger 
or
 more 
urgently
 needed.

We’re 
delighted
 to
 honor
 the
 NBCC
 for
 its 
passionate
 commitment 
to 
our 
favorite
 cause—spreading
 the
 word
 about
 great books.”


John Freeman was NBCC president during the NBCC's 2007 Campaign to Save Book Reviewing. The NBCC blogging committee at the time: Jane Ciabattari, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Mary Ann Gwinn, James Marcus, Maureen McLane, Scott McLemee, David Orr, Jennifer Reese, Rebecca Skloot (webmaster), Lizzie Skurnick, Eric Miles Williamson and Art Winslow.




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Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).

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