The situation at the NBCC began last Thursday, following a week-long attempt by a working committee of board members to draft a statement in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and in support of writers and critics of color. Before the statement was approved, Ugandan American poet, essayist, and writer Hope Wabuke, who had led the effort to draft the statement, resigned from the board. In a series of tweets, Wabuke explained her decision and revealed a series of internal emails pertaining to the discussion around the drafting of the statement.
The turmoil that roiled the National Book Critics Circle, one of publishing’s pre-eminent awards bodies and institutions, last week continued throughout the weekend and into Monday morning as concerns over matters of race and privacy continue to split the organization’s board of directors. As of Monday morning, at least 13 members have resigned from the typically 24-member board.