Terry Teachout was a National Book Award nonfiction judge this year. He’s posted a detailed account of last night’s awards ceremony, focusing particularly on King’s argument that the judges should read more popular novels and consider them for the award, and Hazzard’s reaction to King’s speech:
Hazzard was chiding Stephen Kingâ€”politely, but by name, and she made no bones about itâ€”for telling the NBA judges what they ought to be reading. My guess is that she is more accustomed to weighing her words than speaking off the top of her head, for her remarks, though brief, werenâ€™t nearly as pointed as they seemed, and you could tell she was torn between her obligation to be tactful and her desire to tear a piece off King. Nevertheless, it was an unambiguously confrontational moment, and an electric one.