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Sven Birkerts knocks Quills

AGNI Editor Sven Birkerts troubled by Quills Awards’ market ties

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The Quills, a new book award to be showcased on a glitzy prime-time TV special October 22, is widely regarded as the publishing industry’s attempt to spark popular interest in literature the same way the Oscars get people talking about movies. Not surprisingly, the awards are drawing heat from critics because the nomination system favors best sellers and readers vote for the winners, reports the August 27 Boston Globe.

"We’re all in support of reading and whatever can help it," says Sven Birkerts, editor of Agni magazine, a literary journal published at BU, but "it’s an oddly defined criteria of literary quality that’s being created here. The gating, sifting process is being taken out of the hands of the usual designated experts and redistributed to people with financial connections to the book business."