Thursday, October 10, 2013

An incredibly bright day made brighter by the news

...that Alice Munro has received the Nobel Prize for literature. When I signed into Facebook this morning, my news feed was all Alice Munro. This is no surprise as most of my Facebook friends are writers, but what I find striking is the emotion evident in so many of the posts. Awards matter. This award matters a great deal.

Several months ago I was reading through a passionate comment stream on Facebook, the argument focusing on literary prizes. One of the writers mentioned the effect that The Economy of Prestige had on his writing life and the way he views prizes. Intrigued by his comments, I downloaded the book. After I finished reading it, I ordered a hard copy.

The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value
by James F. English.

Published in 2005, this book is a must-read and one I wish I'd known about sooner. It's important to better understand the history and workings of the awards industry and why awards seem to matter so much. Of course many pages are dedicated to the Nobel Prize. Thanks to the book, I'm looking quite differently at today's outpouring of joy, and sharing in the joy perhaps a bit more fully.

4 comments:

thishotplace.com said...

Thanks for this, Brenda. I'm always excited when my friends are nominated or win, when a Sask writer get the nomination for a national award and when a Canadian writer wins an international prize. But I'd never thought of it in terms of a cultural economy. I might have to have a look at the book, too. In November.

Brenda Schmidt said...

And November is coming right up! Where did the year go?

Gerald Hill said...

For some reason I'm surprised by how moved I am with Munro's Nobel--reading the comments of other writers in today's Globe, for instance.

Brenda Schmidt said...

I'm with you on that.