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We Write, Publish, and Read for Freedom


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"...hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom poets, visionaries the realists of a larger reality.


Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. --applause-- Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.--applause--thank you brave applauded


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 e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this—letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.


Books are not just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable—but then, so did the divine right of kings.  --applause--  Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.


I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company and here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom."

--Ursula K. Le Guin's 2014 excerpt acceptance speech for the National Book Award

 

 

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I actually covered the 2014 National Book Awards:  https://aalbc.com/content.php?title=Coverage+of+the+2014+National+Book+Awards

 

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