Round-Up: The National Book Awards, Charlie Bucket, and The Handmaid’s Tale

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From the National Book Awards’ longlist to the Emmys, here’s the latest in literary news:


The National Book Awards has announced its longlist for the 2017 season in fiction, nonfiction, young people’s literature, and poetry. The National Book Awards are one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United States. This year’s nominees include writers such as Danez Smith, Lisa Ko, and more, representing a number of different publishing houses. The finalists for the awards will be announced on October 4, and the winners will be recognized on November 15 at a ceremony and benefit dinner in New York City.


In an interview with BBC Radio 4 last week Felicity Dahl, widow of Roald Dahl, revealed that Charlie Bucket, the beloved protagonist of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was originally supposed to be black. The two claimed that the decision to change Charlie’s race came from Dahl’s agent, who believed readers would question why the boy was not white. Since the novel’s initial publication in 1964 the tale has been adapted for the screen numerous times, and has even been turned into a musical production which is now running on Broadway, all of which feature a white protagonist. Both Felicity and Dahl’s biographer expressed interest in issuing a reworking of the story that addressed this change.


Hulu’s television series The Handmaid’s Tale won five Emmys last Sunday, including the award for Outstanding Drama Series. The show was nominated alongside series such as The Crown and House of Cards. Its victory makes Hulu the first streaming service to win this particular award. In addition to Outstanding Drama Series, the show also collected trophies for directing, writing, and outstanding leading and supporting actresses. The Handmaid’s Tale is adapted from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name.