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Oprah’s Book Club Selects Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

Oprah’s Book Club has tapped The Underground Railroad, the new novel by Colson Whitehead, as its newest reading group selection, USA Today reported.

The September issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, available August 9, will feature Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Whitehead about the book, which tells the story of a teenage slave’s bid for freedom in 1850s Georgia. Publication of the novel, Whitehead’s sixth, was originally set for September 13 but was pushed up to August 2 to coincide with the Oprah’s Book Club announcement.

Whitehead will also join O magazine books editor Leigh Haber for a Q&A on Oprah’s Book Club Facebook page on Wednesday, August 24, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Hefner First Amendment Awards Seeking Nominations

The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation (HMH Foundation) is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards.

Established in 1979 by Christie Hefner, former chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, the awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions to protect and enhance Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Nominations close on September 26. The winners of this year’s awards will be presented with a $5,000 prize at a press reception in Los Angeles in March 2017.

Past winners have included artists, authors, journalists, librarians, whistleblowers, lawyers, and book industry professionals, including Jim Dana, former bookstore owner and president of the then-Great Lakes Booksellers Association; the late Rhett Jackson, civil rights activist and founder of The Happy Bookseller; and Chris Finan, director of the American Booksellers for Free Expression.

A complete list of winners and judges, as well as the nomination forms, are available on the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation website.

NAIBA Names Ian Doherty Sales Rep of the Year

Ian Doherty has been selected by the members of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association as the 2016 William Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year.

Doherty, who has spent 31 years in the book business and currently serves as a sales rep for HarperCollins, will be presented with the Helmuth Bowl at the NAIBA Fall Conference Awards Banquet on Sunday, October 16, at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore, Maryland.

Doherty, whose father, Terence, was a longtime rep for Simon & Schuster, started his career at Koen Book Distributors and went on to sales positions at Ballantine Books and William Morrow. Doherty recently celebrated his 20th year at HarperCollins.

Library of Congress National Book Festival to Feature 120 Authors, Illustrators

Organizers of the 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival have announced the full slate of authors who will participate in this year’s event.

The 16th annual festival, taking place on Saturday, September 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will feature more than 120 writers, poets, and illustrators who will discuss and sign their work.

Authors recently added to the lineup include Rep. John Lewis, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry Pinkney, Ken Burns, Calvin Trillin, Yaa Gyasi, Harlan Coben, Álvaro Enrigue, Candice Millard, Kristin Hannah, Adam Gopnik, Laila Lalami, and Lois Lowry.

See the full list of authors participating in this year’s festival here.

S&S to Distribute U.K. Publisher Ryland, Peters & Small

Simon & Schuster has entered into a sales and distribution agreement with Ryland, Peters & Small, a U.K.-based publisher of lifestyle books.

Under the agreement, which went into effect August 1, S&S will handle distribution in the North American market for the publisher’s new and backlist publishing, with trade sales in the U.S. to follow on January 1, 2017. The sales and distribution agreement also includes the publisher’s CICO Books line.

Ryland, Peters & Small publishes books on interior design, gardening, gastronomy, arts and crafts, children’s crafts and activities, mind, body, and spirit, as well as specialty gift items.

Tracy Nelson Promoted to S&S Director of Retail Field Sales

Tracy Nelson has been promoted to director of retail field sales at Simon & Schuster.

In her new role, Nelson will be responsible for managing the publisher’s retail field, telemarketing, and telesales teams who service independent retailers, and select educational and wholesale accounts.

Nelson started at S&S as a sales rep for the Barnes & Noble website and was later promoted to national account manager. In 2015, she assumed the position of associate director for Barnes & Noble.

Other recent personnel shifts at S&S include Caitlin Nalven’s promotion to national account manager, where she will handle Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and Perma-Bound for children’s publishing. Nalven started at S&S in 2014 in the telemarketing group.