This year, the National Book Awards ceremony was actually noteworthy because of Portland writer Ursula K. Le Guin’s acceptance speech upon winning the 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She used the speech to spear Amazon and American capitalism as a whole.
Here is one of my favorite parts of the speech:
Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not quite the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship. Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an ebook six or seven times more than they charge customers.
I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.
Here’s a link to a video of the full speech, and it’s well-worth checking out!