Celebrate Books Like the Oscars

3 06 2016

Lisa Lucas, publisher of Guernica magazine, will take over as executive director of the National Book Foundation on March 14

Head of the National Foundation, wants you to love reading

Lisa Lucas is a rare combination: a high-energy bookish extrovert.

“If I can convince a small fraction of people to feel the same way that I feel about reading,” she said, “then I’ve done my job.”

“People who like movies watch the Oscars,” she said. “Why don’t we celebrate books in the same way?”

Her Wall Street office was lined with nearly bare bookshelves, and the hallway outside was filled with outgoing boxes of books. In two weeks publishers would begin flooding the foundation with submissions for the 2016 National Book Awards, which have been given in various forms since 1950. The National Book Foundation was created to manage the awards and its annual November ceremony.

“For me, it has always felt like the Oscars of books,” she said. “I think that we need more people to feel like that.”

The National Book Awards, after all, gave its young adult literature prize to Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” despite sometimes controversial subject matter; it’s the prize that brought Patti Smith to tears when her memoir, “Just Kids,” won the nonfiction prize, and was met with a surge of social media delight when Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” received the nonfiction prize in 2015. Novelists William Faulkner, Bernard Malamud, John Updike and Philip Roth won the fiction prize more than once.

Read further @ LATimes

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