In an effort not to be outdone by 50 Cent and Diddy and the various after parties at the MTV Video Music Awards, the folks at what’s ominously known as Reed Business Information have announced the details and nominees for the first Quill Awards. You may be asking “What the hell is a Quill Award?” — I know I sure did. Apparently the Quill Award is hyped to be the literary equivalent of the People’s Choice Awards — and like the People’s Choice Awards where the nominees are chosen by editors of such fine publications as Entertainment Weekly, the Quill Awards nominees are selected by bookseller and librarian subscribers to Publisher’s Weekly. (Did I mention that Reed Business Information is the parent company of Publisher’s Weekly?) You can see the nominees in each category here and yes, my friends, there is a Bob Dylan nod. Some have said the choices are “interesting” or “bizarre”. Frankly I find them predictable, safe and a little boring. Not the works themselves, naturally, but choosing them isn’t exactly going out on a limb here. But, it is based on popularity, after all and is touted to be “a consumer driven celebration of the written word” — hoo boy, indeed. I’m sure I’m being overly critical, but something just didn’t set right with me after taking a look at their nominating criteria:
Must meet one of the following:
–Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly
–Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program
–Border Original Voices
–Bestseller lists from Publishers Weekly, Book Sense, Barnes & Noble, and Borders
And then comparing it with the goal of “The Quills”:
–Celebrate Excellence in Writing and Publishing
–Recognize and praise the creators of important books and great literature
–Interest more consumers in acquiring books and reading
–Act as a bellwether for literacy initiatives
Perhaps we are all just supposed to be happy that there is another award recognizing literature and writers (I am glad to see that at least there’s a poetry category), but I can’t help but hear “marketing circus” every time I read something about this event. At the very least, the name leaves a lot to be desired. “Hey, ma, I won a Quill!” doesn’t have the same ring as Oscar, Grammy or Tony. They could have named it “The Safran Foers” or “The Darlings” to give it some pizzaz. But no one asked me, so I guess we’re stuck with “The Quills”. So prestigious and respectable.
In any case, starting August 15, you can cast your vote for the winners by going here or to your local Borders establishment (*cough* marketing circus *cough*). Don’t forget to buy some of those books while you’re there, ya hear? Anyway, check out the nominees, and tell us who you’d like to see win this popularity contest or if you even care.