These are topics that are very much linked to the field of literature - but they're ancillary, not directly about the books and the actual body of work.

For example, questions about literary awards:

  • Is Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature in keeping with the history and nature of the award?

  • Are American citizens living outside of America eligible for the PEN/Faulkner Award?

--neither of these are questions that are directly about a particular work of literature, nor literature in general. But they're answerable, well-formed, and potentially interesting questions. Are these within our scope?

Similarly, there are literary events and news beyond simple awards. Questions about those could include:

  • Does the Berlin International Literature Festival address genre fiction?

  • Why was there controversy over the cover of Jodi Meadows' Before She Ignites?

I think there's a good case to make for these being on-topic for us, and I think they would be of interest to people interested in literature. On the other hand, that would also mean our scope extends far beyond the works themselves.

My biggest concern here is that this opens us up to discussing the ever-turbulent world of awards and internet outrage. For example, there's been an online storm surrounding the Hugo Awards, and several groups which formed around their complaints about them, which has been raging for several years now. And everywhere in modern publishing, there are constant complaints, grievances, scandals, and fights, over matters large and small - it would be fairly easy for us to be used as a Skeptics.SE or a Politics.SE for the publishing industry.

So, I think we can include these matters within our scope, but I want to know that we've got community agreement on this.

2 Answers 2


We should allow questions about such topics if they concern literature. Trivialities like "when/where is $EVENT held?" or "what is the prize for $AWARD?", "which celebrities attended $FESTIVAL?" have nothing to do with literature, seem more like advertisements for these and should be off-topic.

The example questions listed are, IMO, can be about literature. Take this one:

Are American citizens living outside of America eligible for the PEN/Faulkner Award?

This could be easily be turned around and asked this way:

Is <insert work by American citizen living outside America> eligible for the PEN/Faulkner Award?

And so, it should be on-topic in the first form as well.

But with:

Does the Berlin International Literature Festival address genre fiction?

Questions like this one could devolve into a debate over what constitutes "genre fiction", and then we fall into the same problem as Are "What type/kind/genre of book is this" questions okay? - what value does this have?

Like with religious texts, if we can keep from disparaging others in these posts, then we shouldn't have a problem. The Dylan question, for example. Not everyone is pleased with it, and that question specifically is one which could bring out the outrage.

Why was there controversy over the cover of Jodi Meadows' Before She Ignites?

The artwork of a book should definitely be on-topic, IMO.

  • Thanks! I do feel like you're threading the needle a little. I'd like guidelines that make for clear, easy decisions. Why is asking about award qualifications off-topic, but asking if a particular book qualifies is on-topic? That seems like sophistry -- and irksome to moderate. Re: the cover question, my question isn't whether covers are on-topic, but whether controversies -- reactions to those covers, and particularly reactions whose scope goes far beyond the individual book and artwork -- are.
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 9:03
  • 1
    @Standback I'm not saying award qualifications are off-topic. I'm saying they're on-topic, because they could easily be converted into ones about particular books. Re: covers, yes, I think the reception of literature has been considered on-topic (that A Passage to India question, for example?)
    – muru
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 9:06
  • Thanks for clarifying! I'd misunderstood originally - I thought you were saying the question needs to be reformulated in order to be on-topic. I'll mull this over.
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 9:10

These question are about literary works and the literary community, so of course they are on-topic. I don't think our scope was ever just about the works, we would always accept questions about the authors and literary theory.

As with any SE site, Keep the questions and answers objective, or at least "good subjective". Don't post rants about why you think so-and-so didn't deserve XYZ Award.

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