Interesting is the $100,000 Puffin/Nation Prize given to affluent author Barbara Ehrenreich, in part for her novel Nickel and Dimed, her story of slumming for a few months as a minimum wage worker.
This shows how the lit establishment operates. To them, the lower classes are a strange, scarcely known phenomenon. They send one of their crack journalists to play at being poor for a short time-- always able at any moment to return to her Overdog lifestyle, which she of course did so she could write her book and receive tons of plaudits. Never would this class of people think of asking poor people to write about THEMSELVES-- or believe the non-elite would be able to do so.
Then the Overdogs turn around and award 100 grand of tax-sheltered money not to a writer who might actually need the funds-- but to one of their own; to the slummer. Big ads accompanied the award-- "Author-- Advocate-- Activist." It sounds to me like a TV commercial. It's an ad for the glorification of Self; the bourgeois liberal proclaiming, "Look at me! How great I am!"-- not caring really about the poor but about her role. As the wealthy shuffle tax-free funds and scantly-earned glory among themselves. (I'd like Ms. Ehrenreich to try being poor when she has no one to call on; no safety net; no easy way out.)