President Clinton To Present the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award

On October 12, the National Book Foundation (NBF) announced that President Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States and founder of the Clinton Foundation, will present this year’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 15. Announced last month, the award will be given to Richard (Dick) Robinson, Scholastic chair, president and CEO, who is a leader in children’s publishing, education, and media noted for his philanthropic activities. Past winners of the award include Dr. Maya Angelou, Joan Ganz Cooney, Dave Eggers, Barbara Epstein and Robert Silvers, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., and the literary organization Cave Canem. Clinton, who joins Academy Award-winning actress Anne Hathaway as a presenter (she will award the 2017 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Annie Proulx), is lauded by the NBF not only as an author and avid reader but for his work with his foundation, which aims to connect businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to help communities thrive.



Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. David Tulanian says:

    I see that President Clinton will present the NBF’s Literarian Award. It seems that whenever I turn my head, there’s a Clinton around! And speaking of the rich and entitled, Harvey Weinstein, who has given a ton of money to mostly Democratic politicians, is in big trouble now due to his alleged crimes against women. Maybe Clinton can give him some advice on how to not make the charges stick. And maybe the National Book Foubdation will wake up next year and realize that America has a new President in office — and it’s not a Clinton. Swallow your progressive pride and invite President Trump to present the award.

    • Paul Klenk says:

      I can’t believe Barbara Hoffert stated with a straight face that the Clinton Foundation “…aims to connect businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to help communities thrive.”

      She should have replaced the word “communities” with the phrase “William Jefferson Clinton and his wife, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton”, plus the coda “in return for favors.” Does Ms. Hoffert support NBF’s decision? She must, she rewrote their press release and published it as reporting.

      LJ has no obligation to shill for anyone, least of all a group who would drag out an accused forcible rapist to present a literary award. But then the NBF’s own Web site features a hagiographic rewrite of the Clinton Foundation’s own claims of its glorious charitable works.

      The NBF lauds Clinton as “an author and avid reader.” When it comes to authoring, Clinton had three collaborators for his autobiography. Would the NBF award prizes to writers who did this? I hope not.

      Imagine, people with nothing original to say, writing stories about awards for the best writers of our age.

      Rather than seek out Undeserving Famous People to present their awards, the NBF could honor past winners like Angelou, Sulzberger, Eggers and Silvers by inviting them back to present to new honorees.

      Bill’s name and the word “book” belong on court papers, not award announcements. He’s washed up. Let him appear at Disneyland this Hallowe’en as one of the chattering pirate skeletons on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Hillary can dress as a scavenger who digs the gold out of the corpses’ teeth.

      See, Barbara, it’s not so hard to write an entertaining, interesting piece! All you need is a strong sense of values, a sense of humor, and something compelling to say.

  2. Fay says:

    I cannot believe that President Clinton would NOT be disinvited after all the reports of his Weinsteinian actions with women. Why not invite a reputable person (perhaps a woman who has been abused/harassed) instead of a man who is an abuser/harasser?

  3. Pamela says:

    I can’t think of anyone more inappropriate.

  4. David Davis says:

    Apparently Bill Cosby was unavailable.

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