Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In Support of Literature of Social Change

Call for Submissions for the Bellwether Prize

From the Press release
The Bellwether Prize supports the writing and publication of serious literary fiction addressing issues of social justice in culture and human relations, underlining the political power of literature. No other North American endowment or prize specifically supports a literature of social responsibility.

Fiction has a unique capacity to bring difficult issues to a broad readership on a personal level,creating empathy in a reader’s heart for the theoretical stranger,” said Kingsolver. “Artists can be the bellwethers of social and moral progress. Think of Nadine Gordimer writing about race and power in South Africa, or Pablo Neruda writing with sarcastic, visionary wit about corporate imperialism in Chile. So many important novelists have written beautifully constructed social critique. We have that tradition in the U.S. as well, with John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath or Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. These are literary novels that argue eloquently for greater consciousness of human justice, and are also spectacular, enduring literature. But in the modern era, writers with this kind of vision do not find a lot of advocacy in our publishing industry.”

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