John W. Sahn (essay date 18 December 1987)
SOURCE: Sahn, John W. “What Are Book Awards For?” Publishers Weekly 232, no. 25 (December 18, 1987): 9.
[In the following essay, Sahn comments on the characteristics and purpose of book awards in general, and on the National Book Awards in particular.]
The recent surprise win of the National Book Award for Fiction by Larry Heinemann, author of Paco's Story, has made us think once more about the whole philosophy and purpose of book awards. The flurry of astonishment caused by Heinemann's win, in the face of such contenders as Toni Morrison and Philip Roth, was perhaps understandable, but hardly flattering to Heinemann, whose book was a remarkably eloquent...
(The entire section is 884 words.)