A year of controversies: Four contentious instances of the literary world
From authors that were awarded for their writing, to books that were criticised for their stories, the year 2019 has been quite controversial in the literary world. Prestigious literary awards were scrutinised, authors were condemned for their writing and books were criticised for their titles…
Controversy: Man Booker Prize award criticised for being shared
Books: The Testaments & Girl, Woman, Other
Authors: Margaret Atwood & Bernardine Evaristo
This year’s Man Booker Prize award was shared between two female authors – Margaret Atwood for The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other. The former is a follow-up to Atwood’s iconic dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, while the latter is told from the perspective of 12 different characters, many of whom are black British women. This decision by the committee was considered controversial, with many criticising the fact that Evaristo, the first black woman to receive the Booker, had to share the honour. According to the rules of this award, the prize “may not be divided or withheld.” Critics suggest that the decision to award the Booker to two authors detracts from the historic nature of Evaristo’s win.
Controversy: Blood Heir attacked for depiction of slavery
Author Amélie Wen Zhao faced gruesome backlash for the depiction of race and slavery in her young adult fiction Blood Heir. While it received some positive early reviews, several readers on Goodreads and Twitter called the author out for her ‘anti-blackness and blatant bigotry’ as described by a particular reader on Goodreads. The book was slated for a June release, however reacting to the negative feedback, Zhao requested her publishers, Delacorte Press, not to release the book “at this time”. Finally, in November 2019 the book hit the shelves.