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National Book Foundation Launches Year Two of Book Rich Environments Initiative

The second year of the National Book Foundation’s (NBF) Book Rich Environments initiative will see distribution of free books to young readers jump from 270,000 last year to 422,000 this year, Publishing Perspectives reported.

The program is designed “to combat lack of literary access, often termed ‘book deserts,’ by connecting communities with resources that help foster lifelong, joyful relationships between readers and books,” according to the NBF. This year, the foundation is working with eight publishing partners to offer programming at 37 sites in 19 U.S. states: Algonquin Books for Young Readers/Workman Publishing, Candlewick Press, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster.

As part of the program, each participating public housing authority will hold three book-distribution occasions, which can take the form of a community party or other social event. Books available at these events will include English- and Spanish-language titles for kids aged 18 and younger and feature a variety of titles by beloved children’s and YA authors, including National Book Award-winning authors.

In addition to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Book Foundation’s other organizational partners include the U.S. Department of Education, the Urban Libraries Council, and the National Center for Families Learning. This year’s program sites are in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, and Washington D.C.

Madeline McIntosh Named CEO of Penguin Random House U.S.

Madeline McIntosh, previously the president of Penguin Publishing Group, has been appointed to the newly created position of CEO of Penguin Random House U.S.

Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House worldwide, wrote in an April 5 letter to colleagues that McIntosh will take on full responsibility for PRH’s local business, effective immediately. In her new role, she will continue to report to Dohle, who said the appointment aligns PRH’s structure in the U.S. with that of the rest of the company’s global territories.

Reporting to McIntosh will be Crown Publishing Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Penguin Publishing Group, Penguin Young Readers, Random House Publishing Group, and Random House Children’s Books. Also reporting to McIntosh will be operations, sales, and the author platforms and digital publishing development team, which includes PRH’s audio publishing business.

Reporting to Dohle will be the company’s communications, corporate development, human resources, finance/M&A, and legal departments, which will provide support and resources to PRH’s U.S. team. The CEOs of PRH’s international companies will also continue to report to Dohle. McIntosh will be succeeded by Allison Dobson, senior vice president of strategy and finance at Penguin.

Independent Booksellers Consortium Looking to Hire New Executive Director

The Independent Booksellers Consortium (IBC), a small membership organization made up of independent booksellers from across the country, is currently seeking a new executive director.

Longtime IBC executive director Lori Tucker-Sullivan has left the organization after 18 years to become the new program manager with Goldman-Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program out of Wayne State University’s Office of Economic Development in Detroit.

Tucker-Sullivan told Bookselling This Week that she learned about the power of a strong cohort of like-minded businesses through her work at IBC, something she will take and use to help the small businesses that are rebuilding her hometown of Detroit.

“At IBC, I am fortunate to have worked each day for some of the very best booksellers in the country and to have grown the organization to its current position of thought-leadership within the industry,” she said. “I know the organization will continue to grow and thrive under new executive director leadership. The members of IBC are smart, nimble, and proactive. They will continue to grow their businesses and rely on one another to make a difference in their bookstores as well as in the bookselling and publishing industries.”

Arsen Kashkashian, head buyer for IBC member bookstore Boulder Book Store in Colorado and former IBC president, is heading the search committee to find a new executive director. Those interested in filling the position may view the job description on Bookselling This Week’s Classifieds page

Personnel Changes Announced at Workman

Publishers Lunch reported on a number of promotions and staff changes at Workman Publishing.

Jodi Weiss has been promoted to executive director of gift and mass merchant sales, while Liz Hunter will become the associate director of field sales. In addition to her other duties as national account manager, Caitlin Kleinschmidt will now also manage Workman’s relationship with Baker & Taylor. 

Angela Campbell will become the director of sales operations, and JT Green has been promoted to sales analyst. Additionally, Terri Ruffino will join the company’s art department as director of special projects.

AUPresses Issues Principles on Fighting Censorship

On Tuesday, April 10, the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) issued a statement asserting its commitment to the values of freedom of expression and scholarly integrity. The statement, Facing Censorship: A Statement of Guiding Principles, offers guidelines for university presses to follow when faced with threats to freedom of expression.

In “Facing Censorship,” AUPresses reaffirms its values in light of the “increasingly digital, global, and instantaneous” commerce of ideas: “…we understand that scholarship may become the target of challenges by states unfriendly toward (or unfamiliar with) the values of academic freedom and editorial integrity. Any request to restrict access to, redact sections from, or otherwise censor the content we publish must be met with the deepest concern.”

The statement promises a firm adherence to principles including “support for high-quality scholarship and for academic freedom of expression; the protection of intellectual property; respect for authors and learned society partners; equal and fair treatment of customers; sensitivity to local laws and custom; and the welfare and safety of our staffs.” The association specifically addresses increasingly frequent requests to censor or redact elements of a larger digital collection and urges presses to reject such requests.

Michael Bamberger to Receive BISG Lifetime Service Award

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) announced Monday, April 9, that Michael Bamberger, senior counsel with the international law firm Dentons, will be the recipient of the organization’s 2018 Lifetime Service Award.

Over the years, as one of the nation’s leading First Amendment lawyers, Bamberger has challenged unconstitutional laws and governmental actions restricting the display, distribution, and sale of books, periodicals, videos, and online materials. Since 2003, Bamberger has served as general counsel to the BISG.

In 2017, Bamberger was the first recipient of the American Booksellers Association’s Joyce Meskis Free Speech Award, named for the founder of Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store; he was recognized in part for his work with Media Coalition in representing more than 40 bookstores in two dozen lawsuits challenging censorship laws since 1977.

Bamberger will be recognized at BISG’s annual meeting, to be held in New York on April 27.

Griffin Poetry Prize Announces 2018 International and Canadian Shortlist

The Griffin Trust For Excellence in Poetry announced the International and Canadian shortlist for this year’s annual poetry prize on Tuesday.

The three judges — Sarah Howe (U.K.), Ben Lerner (U.S.), and Ian Williams (Canada) — each read 542 books of poetry from 33 countries, including 17 translations. The two 2018 shortlists are as follows:

International Shortlist

  • Heaven Is All Goodbyes by Tongo Eisen-Martin (City Lights)
  • Debths by Susan Howe (New Directions)
  • Whereas by Layli Long Soldier (Graywolf Press)
  • Hard Child by Natalie Shapero (Copper Canyon Press) 

Canadian Shortlist

  • This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt (Frontenac House)
  • I have to live. by Aisha Sasha John (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Same Diff by Donato Mancini (Talonbooks)

The authors of the seven shortlisted books — four international and three Canadian authors — will be invited to read at Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto on June 6. Finalists will each be awarded $10,000, while the two winners, to be announced at the Griffin Poetry Prize Awards on June 7, will each be awarded $65,000.

The 2018 anthology of poems from the shortlisted books, published by House of Anansi Press, can be purchased here. Booksellers can order Griffin Poetry Prize book stickers for free by contacting The Griffin Trust.

First Winner of Graywolf Press Africa Prize Announced

Graywolf Press has announced that Khadija Abdalla Bajaber is the first winner of the Graywolf Press Africa Prize, which is awarded for a first novel manuscript by an African author primarily residing in Africa.

Bajaber’s manuscript, The House of Rust, which is planned for publication in 2020, tells the story of a young Mombasa-born girl who, accompanied by a scholar’s cat, goes to the sea to search for her fisherman father. It was chosen from nearly 200 submissions by judge A. Igoni Barrett, author of the novel Blackass, in conjunction with Graywolf editors. 

Bajaber, a poet and novelist who lives in Mombasa, Kenya, will receive a $12,000 advance. In addition, 66th&2nd will publish The House of Rust in Italy, a partnership with Graywolf that will continue going forward.