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Nominations Open for Indie Small Business Awards

Independent We Stand is accepting nominations for the 2016 Indie Awards, which honor independent businesses that make a significant impact in their community and go above and beyond for their customers.

Those who nominate an independent business will get a chance to win a $100 “Locals Only” VISA Gift Card. The winning business will receive a prize package valued at $10,000, including $5,000 cash, a redesigned website, and more.

Any locally owned, for-profit business in the U.S. can be entered into the annual contest.

The deadline for nominations is November 13.

PEN America’s New Report Addresses Free Speech on College Campuses

On October 17, PEN America released the 102-page investigative report And Campus for AllDiversity, Inclusion, and Free Speech at U.S. Universities, which examines the future of free speech in American higher education.

While affirming there is no current crisis regarding free speech on campuses, PEN said there is concern that “recent campus controversies may lead a rising generation to grow alienated from core American values of free speech.”

The report combines research and analysis of all sides of recent debates and presents an idea of how to advance inclusion and equality while safeguarding intellectual and academic freedom. The final section of the report puts forth the “PEN America Principles on Campus Speech,” which offers concrete guidance on how universities can approach campus speakers, the concept of safe space, campus civility, microaggressions and the language of harm, trigger warnings, and the relationship between speech and harassment under Title IX, among other topics.

PEN America will convene November 17–18 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to continue the conversation about free speech on college campuses. A number of university officials and student leaders will be active in the event’s debates.

Above the Treeline Receives Investment

Above the Treeline has received a growth capital investment from Plymouth Ventures, which the company says will fuel expansion of its engineering, sales, and customer support teams. The infusion of capital will also support the rollout of Edelweiss+, the new and improved version of Treeline’s signature product, which offers web-based analytical and workflow tools for publishing professionals and their business customers.

“The partnership with Plymouth Ventures, their financial support and growth stage expertise, will allow us to significantly accelerate our vision of lightning speed responsiveness to our customers’ needs,” said John Rubin, CEO of Above the Treeline.

Evan Ufer, partner at Plymouth Ventures, which, like Above the Treeline, is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will join the Treeline’s board of directors as part of the investment from Plymouth’s $61 Million PVP Fund III.

Literary Landmark Nominations Sought for Children’s Book Week

The American Library Association (ALA)/Children’s Book Council (CBC) joint committee and United for Libraries are now accepting nominations to designate seven locations as Literary Landmarks during Children’s Book Week, May 1-7, 2017.

All Children’s Book Week supporters and participants are encouraged to nominate special locations nationwide that are tied to a deceased children’s literary figure, author, or their work.

Literary Landmark designees will receive a bronze plaque with the Literary Landmark insignia, to be unveiled at a dedication ceremony held during Children’s Book Week. Free posters and tote bags will also be provided. Dedication ceremonies will be promoted by the CBC and Every Child a Reader as “official” Children’s Book Week events.

Nomination applications and supporting materials should be sent to United for Libraries by December 30, 2016. For more details about the initiative, see the Literary Landmark fact sheet.

Grateful American Book Prize Awarded to Chris Stevenson

Chris Stevenson has been named the winner of the 2016 Grateful American Book Prize for his middle-grade novel The Drum of Destiny (Capstone), a work of fact-based historical fiction about a young orphan who fights in the Revolutionary War.

First awarded in 2015, the prize was founded by author and publisher David Bruce Smith and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities Dr. Bruce Cole to encourage authors and publishers to produce more works of historical fiction and nonfiction that engage young readers and leave them wanting to learn more about America’s past. 

Stevenson, a lawyer from Tippecanoe County, Indiana, accepted the $13,000 prize for his first novel at a ceremony at the Library of Congress on October 6. Authors receiving honorable mentions were Michaela MacColl and Rosemary Nichols for their novel, Freedom’s Price (Calkins Creek), and Laura Amy Schlitz for her work of historical fiction, The Hired Girl (Candlewick).

Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan will be the first American to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature since Toni Morrison won in 1993, as well as the first person to win the award for songwriting.

In an announcement on October 13, the Swedish Academy praised Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Swedish Academy Secretary Sara Danils said that “if you look far back, 5,000 years, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts which were meant to be performed, and it’s the same way for Bob Dylan.”

Dylan has been invited to Stockholm to accept the award at the Nobel Prize ceremony on December 10, but the musician has not yet responded to the Academy’s attempts to contact him directly, according to BBC News. However, a post on Dylan’s official Facebook Page did acknowledge the award.