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NCAC Condemns Trump Administration’s Efforts to Restrict CDC Vocabulary

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has come out against efforts by Trump administration officials to ban the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using certain words in communications regarding the agency’s budget.

According to the Washington Post, seven words are now forbidden to appear in these budget communications: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based.

“We are deeply concerned about this ham-handed effort to censor the language of our government’s top scientists,” NCAC Executive Director Chris Finan said in a release from the organization. “It moves the Trump administration a step closer to Orwellian ‘newspeak.’”

On Friday, the Post reported that Alison Kelly, a senior official in the CDC’s Office of Financial Services, revealed the list’s existence during a meeting with the staff involved in preparing the CDC budget, and told them that those words would no longer be used in any documents sent to Congress and CDC partners.

The NCAC release also stated: “Curtailing [our nation’s top scientists’] freedom to choose the most precise and accurate words to express their findings and suggestions impedes the very work we ask them to do and creates ideological barriers to medical treatment, scientific development and human progress.”

Abrams Names Michelle Ferguson Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

Michelle R. Ferguson has been named senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO) at Abrams, Publishers Weekly reported.

Ferguson, who began her new position Monday, comes to Abrams from McGraw-Hill, where she was most recently senior vice president for workplace strategies. At Abrams, she will oversee the finance, accounting and administration, IT and systems, contracts and business affairs, and facilities functions.

Simon & Schuster to Distribute Pike and Powder Publishing Group

Starting January 1, 2018, Simon & Schuster will handle worldwide distribution for Pike and Powder Publishing Group, a new publisher focused on military and social history, historical fiction, and science fiction for all ages.

Pike and Powder was founded by the heads of two New Jersey publishers: Vince Rospond of Winged Hussar LLC and Roger Williams of New England Publishing Associates, Inc. Rospond and Williams, both former employees of S&S, issued a joint statement, saying, “Given the new technologies and the S&S reach into retail and online channels, we are so pleased to provide our authors the platform to engage with their readers.”

Pike and Powder’s imprints include The Knox Press, The Nafziger Collection, Winged Hussar, and Zmok Books, with new imprints to be launched in 2018, including Liberty Bell Press and Poplar Press. Recent releases from Pike and Powder are Halsey’s Bluff by New York Times bestselling author Larry Schweikart; The Art of Giuseppe Rava, a collection of military art through the ages; and Crossroads of the Revolution: Trenton 1774 to 1783 by William L. Kidder.

French Government Files Complaint Against Amazon

The French government has filed a complaint against Amazon for abusing its position of dominance with some of its suppliers, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, the Paris newspaper Le Parisien reported Monday that France’s Economy Ministry is seeking a fine of 10 million euros ($11.8 million) against the online retailer. The complaint filed with the Paris Commerce Court follows a two-year investigation by the Ministry’s consumer fraud watchdog initiative.

Amazon has a dominant position in relation to some of its vendors in France in part because it can unilaterally change contract terms or suspend contracts that it has with the more than 10,000 French companies that use its platform to sell their goods, according to Le Parisien.

A spokesman for Amazon said the company does not comment on legal procedures, Reuters reported.

Man Booker Prize to Celebrate 50 Years in 2018

In 2018, the Man Booker Prize will celebrate 50 years with a year-long anniversary celebration featuring events to engage the public in the prize’s history and introduce new audiences to its winning, shortlisted, and longlisted authors.

The Booker Prize Foundation, sponsored by the Man Group, will kick off the 2018 event series with the Fiction at its Finest Festival, to take place July 6–8 at the Southbank Centre in London.

Throughout the year, the Prize will also team with literary festivals around the world, including the Jaipur Literary Festival, with an appearance by Michael Ondaatje, the joint Man Booker Prize winner for The English Patient in 1992, as well as the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias, to feature an appearance by Fiona Mozley, who was shortlisted earlier this year for Elmet (Algonquin Books).

Throughout 2018, the BBC will air a range of programs around the anniversary and the Fiction at its Finest Festival. Further appearances and additional partnerships and initiatives will be announced in the coming year.

2018 PEN America Literary Award Longlists Announced

PEN America has released the longlists for its 2018 Literary Awards, with prizes for works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essays, science writing, sports writing, and translation published in 2017.

The 2018 PEN America Literary Awards are judged by panels of writers, editors, booksellers, and critics; this year, PEN will give out nearly $315,000 to the winning writers and translators.

Among the nominees for one of the seven literary prizes — the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction — are Carmen Maria Machado, author of the October 2017 Indie Next List number-one pick Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press), and Indies Introduce author Emily Fridlund, for History of Wolves (Atlantic Monthly Press), the January 2017 Indie Next List number-one pick.  

The finalists for all book awards will be announced in January 2018, and the winners will be announced at the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 20 at the NYU Skirball Center in New York City. 

See all prize finalists here.