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To Kill a Mockingbird Author to Release Second Book

At the age of 88, Harper Lee, the celebrated author of the 1960 American classic To Kill a Mockingbird, will release the second book of her career through HarperCollins, the publisher announced Tuesday.

On July 14, the company’s Harper imprint will publish Lee’s 304-page Go Set a Watchman, which the author completed in the 1950s and set aside. The work was presumed lost until fall 2014, when her lawyer stumbled upon it attached to an original, typed Mockingbird manuscript.

This is Lee’s first new published work in more than 50 years, following her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of racial injustice in the Deep South that has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide since its publication by J.B. Lippincott & Co.

The new book, set in the mid-1950s, follows a grown-up Scout who visits her father, Atticus, in Maycomb, Alabama, 20 years after the events of the first book. In a statement through her publisher, Lee said the book was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird:

”In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

Government Censorship May Shutter Independent Belarus Bookstore

The staff at Lohvinau Bookstore in Minsk, Belarus, is calling on the international public to help it pay a heavy fine levied by the government against the store for selling and publishing books without correct state documentation, The Guardian reported.

On January 9, the independent bookstore, which was founded by Ihar Lohvinau and doubles as a publishing house, was fined 976 billion Belarusian roubles, or 62,150 U.S. dollars, by the Economic Court of Minsk for the alleged offense, an amount equal to the store’s annual profits. If the fine is not paid, the store’s owner may face jail time and confiscation of the property.

Since July 2013, the government has required all publishers to register with the country’s ministry of information, which can turn down an application if it determines a publisher is “carrying out licensed activities with aims contradicting the interests of the Republic of Belarus.”

The bookstore and publishing house in the Belarusian capital is known for championing the work of repressed writers and has had its license taken away before for publishing the book Belarus Press Photo 2011, which included a photo of police brutality.

Crowdfunding efforts by a support group named  “Save Lohvinau Club” have raised 15 percent of the required total so far, in part by mobilizing online support using the #SaveLohvinau hashtag, the Guardian reported.

PEN International has pledged its support for the Save Lohvinau Club, calling Belarus’ publisher registration law “a chill on publishers, and a significant barrier to the flow of information and cultural exchange.” In a statement, Lohvinau staff mentioned other non-state newspapers and magazines that have also been forced by the government to shut down in recent years.

Anne Enright Named First Laureate for Irish Fiction

Anne Enright has been named the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction, by Ireland’s Arts Council, The Irish Times reported.

An international panel led by Irish poet Paul Muldoon unanimously selected Enright for the role following a public call for nominations over the summer.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, leader of Ireland’s Fine Gael Party, made the announcement at an Arts Council ceremony in Dublin last week.

“The Laureate for Irish Fiction is awarded on the basis of literary accomplishment and excellence, and is the highest honor that the Irish State can bestow on a writer in this genre,” Kenny said. “Anne Enright’s eloquent and powerful writing, fiercely individual voice and unyielding commitment to her craft combined to make her the pre-eminent choice.”

Enright, whose novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize and who took home the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award in 2004, will receive €50,000 per year for the new initiative, which was begun to promote and encourage a greater engagement with Irish literature and, specifically, with reading. The Laureate program was developed by the Arts Council, a government agency that promotes the arts, with support from University College Dublin, New York University, and The Irish Times.

As part of the role, Enright will teach one semester at each of the partner universities, deliver an annual lecture, and engage in a number of public events.

Penguin Inks Sales/Distribution Deal With America’s Test Kitchen

Penguin Random House Publisher Services has signed a multi-year sales and distribution agreement with America’s Test Kitchen, a multimedia company that creates content related to recipe development, kitchen tips, and equipment reviews.

Currently self-distributed in the general book trade, America’s Test Kitchen will use Penguin Random House to sell and distribute their physical and digital cookbooks worldwide starting September 2015, Penguin Random House announced last month.

America’s Test Kitchen is best known for their public television show of the same name and for publishing Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines.

BISG, ALA to Survey Library Patrons’ Digital Preferences

A new survey by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and the American Library Association (ALA) will gather information on public library patrons’ use of digital content, the ALA announced February 1.

BISG and ALA have joined together to produce the survey, entitled “Digital Content in Public Libraries.”

“With BISG’s research expertise and ALA’s reach into the library community, this survey will provide the publishing industry and library administrators alike with invaluable insight into how readers interact with e-books in a library environment,” said BISG Executive Director Len Vlahos.

Questions developed by both organizations will address patrons’ preferred device usage, preferences for print or digital formats, and other issues. The survey will be fielded by the research firm Nielsen, with editorial and analysis by Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly.

Survey results will be announced at ALA’s annual conference, to be held in San Francisco on June 25 – 30. Those interested will be able to purchase a printed report on September 8. 

Random House’s Independent Bookstore Liaison Expands Duties to Penguin

Random House’s current ambassador to independent booksellers Ruth Liebmann will expand her role to Penguin. Formerly the vice president of account marketing at Random House, Liebmann is now taking on the broader title of vice president, account marketing, Penguin Random House.

Liebmann, who is to maintain her oversight of the Random House Events Department, will be Penguin Random House’s primary contact with the American Booksellers Association, as well as with all regional bookseller associations and their marketing programs.

Working with staff at both companies, Liebmann will help develop plans to strengthen relationships with individual booksellers and implement strategies and initiatives to enhance communications and bookseller outreach.

Simon & Schuster Introduces New Multimedia Imprint North Star Way

Simon & Schuster has launched the new multimedia imprint North Star Way, a client-driven business model that offers authors a suite of profile-building tools to develop strategies to increase their reach and maximize their sales in multiple mediums, the publisher announced last week.

North Star Way, which will be led by Vice President and Publisher Michele Martin, will have an editorial focus on nonfiction in the fields of self-improvement and inspiration, mind-body-spirit, motivation, wellness and business inspiration, and leadership, according to the company.

Martin said North Star Way’s goal is to find authors and experts with whom to partner, sometimes even before they have written a book, “to build an audience and generate revenue, whether it be from publishing or other sources.”

In addition to book publishing, North Star Way will work with authors to develop online courses and subscriptions; seminars, workshops, and panel discussions; mobile applications; original videos and audio books; sponsorships and business partnerships; and podcasts.

Last month, S&S came out with a similar publishing platform called SimonSays, to produce paid online video course series to be led by some of the company’s best-known authors.