Drew Barrymore Dropped as Host of National Book Awards Ceremony
Actress Drew Barrymore has been dropped as the host of the National Book Awards ceremony, choosing to stand in solidarity with striking writers. This article discusses the decision and the ongoing writers strike.
Troy D. Hanson
September 13, 2023
Drew Barrymore has been removed as the host of the upcoming National Book Awards ceremony, following the return of her talk show after the Hollywood writers strike.
The National Book Foundation's Statement
According to a statement released on Tuesday by the National Book Foundation, which presents the award, they explained that "The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture." They further stated, "In light of the announcement that 'The Drew Barrymore Show' will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore's invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony."
Background on National Book Awards
Known as the Academy Awards of the publishing world, the National Book Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on November 15th.
Potential Issues with the Actors Guild
Barrymore's rebooted talk show does not inherently cause problems with the actors guild, as daytime talk shows are governed by a different contract. However, it should be noted that at least three of Barrymore's show writers are members of the writers guild, which has been on strike since May. These writers were seen picketing outside the CBS Broadcast Building on Monday.
Chelsea White, one of the show's writers, mentioned that the only writers who are certain to not return are the three Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers. She added, "I think first and foremost, this is obviously way bigger than just 'The Drew Barrymore Show' and writers. We are out here standing with our union and feeling great and excited always to stand with our union."
Criticism and Questions Raised
Upcoming Season and Response
The fourth season of Barrymore's talk show is set to begin airing on September 18th. A representative for Barrymore has not yet commented. Nevertheless, in an Instagram post on Sunday, Barrymore acknowledged the situation, stating that she was "making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me."
An Unfortunate Cancellation
A Missed Opportunity to Celebrate Writers
Actress Drew Barrymore recently made a disappointing announcement regarding her role as the host of the National Book Awards. In light of the ongoing writers strike, she has decided to withdraw from the event, standing in solidarity with the striking writers. Barrymore expressed her deep respect for the work that writers do and their ability to bring people together through storytelling.
This is not the first time a prominent figure has shown support for the strike. Barrymore had previously stepped down as host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, aligning herself with the cause. Although she was later recognized as the best host, it was evident that her commitment to the strike remained unwavering.
Another industry heavyweight, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, also withdrew from an event where he was supposed to be honored with a Business Visionary Award. Sarandos wanted to avoid detracting attention from the vital work that organizations like PEN America do for writers and journalists.
The National Book Foundation, which organizes the National Book Awards, has always aimed to elevate the status of these prestigious literary prizes. Having Drew Barrymore as the host for this year's ceremony would undoubtedly have brought considerable attention to the event. The chair of the National Book Foundation's board of directors praised both Barrymore and Oprah Winfrey for their dedication to books and their belief in their transformative power.
However, the National Book Foundation understands that the focus must remain on the writers and their exceptional contributions. In light of Barrymore's decision to step down, the foundation expressed gratitude for her understanding and support during this challenging time.
It is unfortunate that the writers' strike has disrupted what could have been a celebrated event. Nevertheless, it serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and championing the work of writers and the impact they have on our lives.