Let’s lead with the no-news bad news: women don’t win literary awards. Further, books written about women don’t win any awards, either.
I bet you’re shocked. Shocked!
Despite a couple of recent breakthroughs in 2018 (Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood shared the Booker Prize for Girl, Woman, Other and The Testaments, respectively; Susan Choi won the National Book Award for fiction for Trust Exercise; the award for nonfiction went to Sarah M. Broom for The Yellow House), women haven’t begun to reach parity with men in the book awards realm. (Evaristo, the first black woman to win the Booker, said in her acceptance speech, “I hope that honor doesn’t last too long.”)
How do you feel about gold stars? (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
The Guardian (here) had a story about a Michelin chef with three stars who asked to be removed from the guide, and it got me to thinking about recognition and standards that come with it.
The report focused on the fact that surprise Michelin inspections could happen at any time, two or three times a year. And yes, that would be nerve-wracking – if you were a chef who cared about awards and recognition. If, on the other hand, you only cared about the food leaving your kitchen, it seems to me that the inspections, with their inherent judgements about “Is this good enough? Is this as good as it was?” would lose a lot of their power.
But who can be such a compartmentalized person? I’m sure they exist, and they may or may not be happy. Most of us, though, like a little outside confirmation that we are doing a good thing.
On top of that, art is often made better when an artist gets good feedback. Also, trying to push boundaries so that consumers of art are still amazed or at least entertained can be a good thing. Those consumers might be Continue reading