BTW News Briefs

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American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression Honored

Congratulations go to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, which this week was named the winner of the New York Library Association (NYLA) SirsiDynix Intellectual Freedom Award for 2011. The award, which consists of a plaque and a monetary prize of $500, honors individuals or organizations that stand on guard in defense of intellectual freedom.

NYLA invited ABFFE President Chris Finan to accept the award at the its annual conference on November 3 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

“The education and promotion made available by ABFFE to booksellers and others and its commitment of protecting intellectual freedom are truly laudable,” said Robert Hubsher, director of the Ramapo Catskill Library System, writing on behalf of the NYLA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. “Our democratic way of life owes much to individuals like yourself and the organization you represent, who are willing to stand up to protect our First Amendment rights.”

Health Care Law Headed to the Supreme Court

The stage has been set for the Supreme Court to rule early next year on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, according to a report this week in the San Francisco Chronicle. On Monday, the Justice Department said it would forego an appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court in Atlanta, which was expected to take months and could have delayed a final decision until at least 2013.

This week’s move allows the administration to ask the Supreme Court to schedule the case for the new term, which begins next week and ends in June. With this schedule, the Chronicle noted, “the justices will hand down a ruling on President Obama’s signature legislation just as the election campaign moves into high gear.”

At issue is whether Congress can “regulate commerce” to require all Americans who have taxable income to have health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty that begins at $95.

Amazon Unveils Kindle Fire Tablet

On Wednesday, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire tablet, which works off a customized Android operating system, has a seven-inch screen, and can access Amazon’s app store for streaming movies and TV shows.

The tablet, which goes on sale for $199 on November 15 but can be pre-ordered now, is expected to challenge the dominance of Apple’s iPad, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, WSJ noted, “Questions … remain about the device’s technical limitations and lackluster selection of apps, especially in comparison to the iPad. The device doesn’t have a camera or microphone, and it doesn’t offer cellular connection, working only with wi-fi.”

Despite these concerns, at least one market analyst expects between two million and three million tablets to be shipped in the fourth quarter, reported WSJ, before an enhanced version becomes available early next year.

Lee and Rideau Win Dayton Literary Peace Prizes

On Monday, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation named The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee (Riverhead) and In The Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance by Wilbert Rideau (Knopf) as the winners of the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction and nonfiction, respectively. Each author will receive a $10,000 honorarium.

Runners-up were Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (W.W. Norton) and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House).

The prize, which celebrates the power of literature to promote peace, nonviolent conflict resolution, and global understanding, will be presented at a ceremony on Sunday, November 13, at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio.

Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna, Small Wonder, Harper) will receive the first-ever Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award at the ceremony.

Before Columbus Foundation Names Award Winners

The Before Columbus Foundation has named the winners of its 2011 American Book Awards, which honor excellence in American literature without restriction or bias with regard to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press or ad budget, or genre.

This year’s winners, to be honored at a ceremony on  October 16 at the University of California, Berkeley, Alumni House, are:

  • Keith Gilyard for John Oliver Killens (University of Georgia Press)
  • Akbar Ahmed for Journey Into America (Brookings Institution Press)
  • Camille Dungy for Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press)
  • Karen Tei Yamashita for I Hotel (Coffee House Press)
  • William W. Cook and James Tatum for African American Writers & Classical Tradition (University of Chicago Press)
  • Gerald Vizenor for Shrouds of White Earth (SUNY Press)
  • Eric Gansworth for Extra Indians (Milkweed Editions)
  • Ivan Arguelles for The Death of Stalin (Beatitude Press)
  • Geoffrey Alan Argent for The Complete Plays of Jean Racine: The Fratricides (Penn State University Press)
  • Neela Vaswani for You Have Given Me a Country (Sarabande Books)
  • Sasha Pimentel Chacon for Insides She Swallowed (West End Press)
  • Miriam Jimenez Roman and Juan Flores for The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History of Culture in the United States (Duke University Press)
  • Carmen Gimenez Smith for Bring Down the Little Birds (University of Arizona Press)

The 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to John A. Williams and Luis Valdez.