Take The Books Out Of Book Prizes?

Nigerian writer Kola Tubosun wonders how long it will take major literary awards to recognize works in new media:

For anyone interested in literature, and literary development, this is a good time to be alive, not just because of the quality of output and the zeal of the participants, but also because of the presence of new media and the dynamism it has allowed for the production of new forms, and new ways of expression. … I hope, of course, that new media eventually gets its pride of place in the mainstream of literary appraisal. It already does well in consumption and reach. Until the Booker, the NLNG, the Orange, or any other major prize rewards someone whose platform is mainly online, then we haven’t reached there yet.

I don’t advocate for the death of the book, just like inventors of the automobile didn’t go ahead and shoot all the horses. But judges of prizes need to start looking at the quality of production in the new media, and begin to pay attention to them. It is the future. We may as well get used to it.

On a related note, Bill Wyman believes Bob Dylan should be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature:

[His] fierce and uncompromising poet whose writing, 50 years on, still crackles with relevance. Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience. His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.

But to Zach Schonfeld, Dylan is more performer than poet:

Dylan’s songs are far more than the content of the lyric booklets that accompany his releases; his artistry is rather seamlessly wedded to his (now almost incomprehensibly) gravelly voice and loooongstreetched-out delivery. Think of those iconic choruses – “Iiii-diot wiiind,” “Like a roooo-lling stone,” “Stuuuu-ck-in-siiide-of-Mooo-bile-with-the-Memphis-Bluuuues-again” – and now try to imagine them as standalone poetry, without the melodies and vocal inflections and musical color. Doesn’t work. Tarantula aside, Bob Dylan hasn’t followed Leonard Cohen’s path in supplementing his records with books of poetry, and to award him the Nobel would be to ignore the power of the medium he has made his life’s work.