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2015 Andrew Carnegie Medals Shortlist Announced

On April 6, the American Library Association announced the six titles on the shortlist for the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. The three fiction and nonfiction titles offer bookstore programming opportunities and a shortcut to help booksellers highlight outstanding titles.

For the first time, independent bookstores have a special stake in the awards process with the appointment of ABA Vice President Betsy Burton, owner of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, to the Selection Committee.

One winner in each category will be announced on June 27 at the ALA Annual Conference. The finalists are:


  • All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (Scribner/ Simon & Schuster)
  • Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)
  • On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae Lee (Riverhead Books/Penguin Group USA)


  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson (Spiegel & Grau/Random House)
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt)
  • Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, by Lawrence Wright (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House) 

The awards are co-sponsored by Booklist and RUSA (ALA’s Reference and User Services Association) and are ALA’s first single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction.

More information about the finalists, as well as previous winners and downloadable bookmarks and tabletop posters, are available on the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence website. Booksellers are encouraged to help generate interest in the titles through their social media channels, websites, newsletters, and other communications. To join the wider Twitter conversation, people should use the hashtag #ala_carnegie.

College to Take Over Management of Bryn Mawr Bookstore

Bryn Mawr College will once again manage its own bookstore starting in May 2015, right after graduation.

“An independent store will provide better service to meet the academic program needs of the community and offer merchandise more attractive to all of its customers,” said Jerry Berenson, the college’s chief administrative officer.

For the past four years, the college has contracted with Follett Higher Education Group to manage the Bryn Mawr College Bookstore, under the assumption that the store would be better able to compete with online booksellers under Follett’s control.

The College is in the process of searching for a store manager to work with administrators and a consultant to establish the new independent bookstore. There are also plans to create student internship positions at the store.

Berenson said he hopes the return to an independent bookstore will allow for the sort of customer service and community connection that may have faded when the store’s operations were outsourced.

“We’re confident that the new store will draw back former customers,” he said. “We want to be a partner and resource for all campus departments, alumnae/i, visitors, and hopefully the local community.”

Consortium Signs Two Indie Publishers

Beginning June 1, Consortium Book Sales & Distribution will begin distribution of two new independent publishers for the fall 2015 season: Hispabooks and Secret Acres.

Hispabooks is a Madrid-based publishing house specializing in contemporary Spanish fiction in English-language translation, while Secret Acres Press is a Brooklyn, New York, comics company founded by Barry Matthews and Leon Avelino that publishes story collections and original graphic novels with a focus on emerging artists.

Titles from both publishers will also be available in e-book format through Constellation, Consortium’s digital services division.

Oyster to Sell E-Books

The e-book subscription service Oyster will now sell e-books, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, a move that thrusts the company into competition with corporate giants like Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, as well as rival e- and audio book subscription services like Kindle Unlimited, Playster, and Scribd.

The company announced it would be opening its own digital bookstore to allow customers to buy titles currently unavailable through its subscription service that, like the Netflix model for movies, lets users access unlimited content for a monthly fee.

Some publishers and authors remain wary that e-book subscription services like Oyster could devalue books in the minds of consumers, the Times reported.

Eric Stromberg, Oyster’s chief executive, told the Times that the company’s e-book prices would be “competitive with the marketplace” and that Oyster would sell e-books from all five of the major publishing houses. So far, Oyster has made deals with three of the big five, excluding Penguin Random House and Hachette.

Atticus Lish Wins 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Preparation for the Next Life, the first novel by Atticus Lish, has been selected as the winner of the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

The winning book, which was announced Tuesday by the directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, is the love story of a Chinese Muslim immigrant, Zou Lei, and a traumatized Iraq War veteran, Brad Skinner.

Lish, who lives in New York, has previously won the Plimpton Prize for Fiction, the New York City Book Award for Fiction, and the Carla Cohen Literary Prize.

The PEN/Faulkner Award is America’s largest peer juried prize for fiction; this year, judges considered 360 novels and short story collections published by American authors in the U.S. during 2014.

Lish will receive $15,000, while each of the prize’s four finalists — Jeffery Renard Allen, Jennifer Clement, Emily St. John Mandel, and Jenny Offill — will receive $5,000. All five authors will be honored during the 35th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., on May 2.

 X.J. Kennedy Wins Jackson Poetry Prize

Poets & Writers announced on Tuesday that X.J. Kennedy is the winner of this year’s Jackson Poetry Prize.

Every year, the 45-year-old service organization for creative writers gives the $50,000 prize to an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition.

Kennedy’s first book, Nude Descending a Staircase (1961), won a Lamont Award, while his 2007 book In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus: New & Selected Poems was an ALA Notable Book. More recently, Kennedy published Fits of Concision: Collected Poems of Six or Fewer Lines (2014) as well as a comic novel, A Hoarse Half-Human Cheer (2015).

He has also taught writing, mostly at Tufts University, and has written textbooks, including An Introduction to Poetry (with Dana Gioia), and 24 children’s books. In 2009, Kennedy received the Poetry Society of America’s Robert Frost medal.

Poets & Writers will host a reading and reception for Kennedy in New York City in May.

Winners of the 2014 James Tiptree Jr. Award Announced

The 2014 James Tiptree Jr. Award for feminist science fiction writing will go to Monica Byrne for her novel The Girl in the Road (Crown), and Jo Walton, for her novel My Real Children (Tor).

The $1,000 award, which was created in 1991 to honor Alice Sheldon, who wrote under the male pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr., is presented annually to works of science fiction or fantasy that explore and expand gender roles.

On April 3, the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council announced that this year’s jurors had also chosen an Honor List of 10 titles as well as a long list of nine other works. All of the honorees will be celebrated at Wiscon, the feminist science fiction convention in Madison, Wisconsin, to be held May 23 to 26.

Readings for the 2015 prize begin soon, and all are welcome to submit recommendations via the Tiptree Award website.

Winners of 2015 Christopher Awards Announced

Among the 66th Annual Christopher Award winners announced on Wednesday are 11 authors and four illustrators in the adult and young adult book categories. The awards, which honor writers, producers, directors, authors, and illustrators whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit” will be presented at a gala in New York City on May 13.

“The Christopher Awards are unique in that they celebrate both sacred and secular works across a variety of media,” said Tony Rossi, the group’s director of communications.