NBCC Panel: "Race, Gender, and Book Reviews"
Wednesday May 27, 2015
NBCC board member Walton Muyumba led a conversation about racial and gender representation in book reviewing. Among the questions we engaged were: What do the VIDA numbers explain about the health of American publishing? Does the American reading public actually benefit from gender and racial parity in publishing? And should book review editors and book reviewers worry about sociological concerns like gender and racial diversity?
Walton Muyumba's essays and reviews have appeared in Oxford American, The Crisis, NPR Books, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He’s the author of "The Shadow and the Act: Black Intellectual Practice, Jazz Improvisation, and Philosophical Pragmatism" (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2009). He is an associate professor of American and African Diaspora literature in the English Department at Indiana University-Bloomington.
Hawa Allen writes fiction and criticism. Her essays have appeared in "Best African American Essays" and Tricycle magazine, where she is a contributing editor. She’s published fiction in Transition: An International Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Amazon's literary magazine, Day One, and the Chicago Tribune's literary supplement, Printers Row Journal. A graduate of the University of Chicago and Columbia Law School, Allan practices law and has been a fellow at Columbia’s Center for the Study of Law and Culture.
Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in February of 2016. He is a recipient of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He has taught writing at Wesleyan University, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Texas – Austin. He is the curator of Dear Reader at Ace Hotel NY, and a contributing editor at Literary Hub. He lives in New York City.
Miriam Markowitz is deputy literary editor of The Nation and a board member of the NBCC. She was previously an editor of Harper’s Magazine and Viet Nam News in Hanoi. Her essay “Here Comes Everybody” examines some of the root causes of gender imbalance in magazine and book publishing.
Parul Sehgal is an editor at the New York Times Book Review. She is the recipient of the Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle, and her work appears in the New York Times, Slate, Bookforum, Tin House, and the Literary Review, among other publications. She has been a speaker at TED and is currently teaching at Columbia University.
About The National Book Critics Circle
The National Book Critics Circle honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature. was founded in April 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. It serves nearly 600 member critics, authors, literary bloggers, book publishing personnel, and student members.
The National Book Critics Circle awards are given each March and honor the best literature published in the United States in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. These are the only national literary awards chosen by critics themselves. Each year the NBCC also honors one of its member critics with the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing and confers the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award on a distinguished author, editor, publisher, or literary institution.