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LeVar Burton will host National Book Awards ceremony, replacing Drew Barrymore

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NEW YORK (AP) — LeVar Burton will host next month’s National Book Awards ceremony, replacing the original choice, Drew Barrymore, who was dropped because of her decision to resume taping of her show during the writers’ strike.

The National Book Foundation, which presents the awards, announced Burton’s selection Friday. Burton, a longtime advocate for reading known for his roles in the TV miniseries “Roots” and in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” also hosted the ceremony in 2019.

“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,” said Burton, who earlier this month served as honorary chair of Banned Books Week, when stores and libraries highlight works that have been challenged or censored.

The National Book Awards will take place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Nov. 15, when winners will be announced in five competitive categories. Oprah Winfrey will be a guest speaker and poet Rita Dove will receive a lifetime achievement medal.

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