I don’t want this to be a long entry, as I have many things to do today, but to not mention this at all, and the impact it will have on the literary world, would be a gaping hole on a literary blog.
After 2011, The Oprah Winfrey Show will be no more.
Sure, she might have another talk show on the new network that she’s starting up, but that will be on cable, which doesn’t reach as many people as the public airwaves do. Why ending her show will have such an impact on the literary world not only has to do with her book club that she started in 1996 (which, several years ago, she relegated to classic books–and I have to admit, I had to smile upon seeing a new translation of Anna Karenina top the bestseller list over a hundred years after Tolstoy wrote the original), but also with the opportunity her show allowed writers to discuss their work. Quick! Name other talk shows that have writers on as guests (cannot include famous people who have written books). See what I mean? There’s Glenn Beck for popular fiction (heaven help us), and Charlie Rose, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report for books on current events, but for “serious” fiction, there’s only Oprah and NPR (though I prefer to call popular fiction “entertainment” and serious fiction “art,” and no, they aren’t mutually exclusive).
As for myself, this means that I have precious little time to finish my novel and hope that I am interviewed on one of Oprah’s last shows. Minus winning a prestigious literary award, that would be the highlight of any writer’s literary career (well, maybe not Jonathan Franzen’s–I kid!). For me, I would want to be on her show if for no other reason than to thank her for using it to support writers for all these years. Then again, I have published a poetry book…
(Click here for an excellent summation of the show and Oprah’s impact on the world.)