NBCC Plans Long Weekend of Self-Reflection


By Neal Comment

With its usual inflationary rhetoric, the National Book Critics Circle blog is touting four panel discussions over a Thursday-Sunday cycle as “a week-long symposium” on the fate of literary criticism in the 21st century. Many of the usual suspects will be in attendance, but it’s worth noting that a panel on “the future of book coverage” includes producers from The Colbert Report and The Leonard Lopate Show along with NYTBR senior editor Dwight Garner and newly-returned editor Steve Wasserman.

But the event that holds the most promise for spark-flying is the one where Nan Talese of Doubleday and Riverhead executive editor Sean McDonald are sharing the dais—because, let’s face it, any moderator who has those two primed for questioning and doesn’t ask about James Frey needs to hand things over to a hungrier journalist. Especially if the theme of the hour is “Can Criticism and Promotion Coexist Today?” (Which, can we ask, what does that even mean?) I’ll actually be out of town for a speaking engagement that weekend, but Sarah, an NBCC member, might be around to cover events if the so-called symposium didn’t conflict with the Jewish New Year and the Brooklyn Book Festival.