How Book Reviewing is Changing and Why it Matters

Room 3501 EF, Kansas City Convention Center, Level 3
Friday, February 9, 2024
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


Like everything in publishing, book reviews are in flux, with mainstream venues reducing reviews in exchange for fawning interviews and book roundups that feel like marketing fluff pieces. This panel of book critics will discuss why they write book reviews, the state of book reviewing today, the need for diversity in book reviewers and in books reviewed, and how criticism can help reshape an often myopic and inequitable industry.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_24_How_Book_Reviewing_Is_Changing_and_Why_It_Matters.pdf



Alice Stephens is the author of the novel Famous Adopted People; a book reviewer, essayist, and short story writer; cofounder of the Adoptee Literary Festival; facilitator at the Adoptee Voices Writing Group; an editor at Bloom; and a member of the Starlings Collective.

Martha Anne Toll's debut novel, Three Muses, won the Petrichor Prize and was shortlisted for the Gotham Book Prize. Her second novel, Duet For One is due out spring 2025. She is a frequent book reviewer for NPR Books, the Washington Post, and others. She is on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Ericka Taylor lives in Washington, DC, where she writes fiction, book reviews, and opinion pieces. She is a regular contributor to NPR Books, and her writing has appeared in YES! Media, Willow Springs Magazine, Bloom, and The Millions. She serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Tope Folarin is a Nigerian-American writer based in Washington, DC. He serves as the Lannan visiting lecturer in creative writing at Georgetown University and has garnered many awards for his writing, including the Caine Prize for African Writing, and the Whiting Award for Fiction.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center