LeVar Burton Steps in to Host National Book Awards Ceremony as Drew Barrymore Steps Down. Renowned actor and literary advocate LeVar Burton is set to host the upcoming National Book Awards ceremony, taking over from the originally chosen host, Drew Barrymore. Barrymore’s hosting gig was rescinded due to her decision to resume production on her show amidst a writers’ strike.
The National Book Foundation, the organization responsible for presenting these prestigious awards, officially announced LeVar Burton’s selection as the host. Burton, known for his iconic roles in “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” had previously hosted the National Book Awards ceremony in 2019.
Burton expressed his gratitude, saying, “It’s an honor to return as host of the biggest night for books, especially in a moment when the freedom to read is at risk and literature both needs and deserves our recognition and support.” Notably, he had served as the honorary chair of Banned Books Week earlier this month, a time when bookstores and libraries spotlight works that have faced challenges or censorship.
The National Book Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on November 15. During the event, winners will be announced in five competitive categories. The guest speaker for the evening will be the illustrious Oprah Winfrey, and the esteemed poet Rita Dove is set to receive a Lifetime Achievement medal.
In a statement made in September, the National Book Foundation revealed that Drew Barrymore, previously slated to host the 74th annual National Book Awards, was no longer the host following her announcement that production on “The Drew Barrymore Show” would resume. This decision came after a writers’ strike that had been ongoing since early May formally ended in October.
The National Book Foundation stated, “The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture.” In light of the resumption of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” the foundation chose to rescind Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony. They expressed their dedication to maintaining the focus of the Awards on celebrating writers and books, thanking Ms. Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation.
Drew Barrymore has been replaced as the National Book Awards host due to her show’s resumption during the writers’ strike.