The Daphnes, a prize for the best book from 50 years ago.
We’re not doing a feminist corrective, or a corrective based on any sort of identity politics. I’m just tired of having the same conversations about 20th century literature, which always seems to revolve around these same writers: Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, Roth. When you challenge this reduction, when you say maybe there were other books, other stories, other things going on, people get angry! (You should see my inbox.) No, we definitely have chosen the best books to celebrate. We just want to see if they’re right about that.
Maybe Updike really did write the best book of the year! But I doubt it. Hopscotch is a marvel, Muriel Spark is still ten years ahead of us, and in a year that saw The Fire Next Time, Eichmann in Jerusalem, The Making of the English Working Class, and the Destruction of Dresden, we’re guessing a biography of John Keats was not the most important nonfiction book released.