Fascinating look at the National Book Awards process from Eric Obenauf, publisher and editor of the press Two Dollar Radio.
Obenauf’s jumping-off point is this year’s expansion to a longlist for fiction nominees (from five to ten), which sounded promising to him, as it did to all lovers of good fiction. Until, that is, he saw the list, which was packed with offerings from traditional publishers. This struck him as missing an opportunity:
[R]ather than five slices of plain bread hopping out of the toaster we were met with ten instead. What was the point of expanding to a longlist at all?
As I explain below, I don’t fully agree with his solution, but boy does he nail the diagnosis: