BTW News Briefs

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Here’s what’s happening this week in the book industry:

As in 2018 and 2019. President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposal has called for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. The House has restored funds for the organization in those two previous years.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin passed away on Friday, March 15, at the age of 91. In his poetry career, Merwin won two Pulitzer Prizes, a National Book Award, and many other honors, and also published volumes of prose and poetry in translation.

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation's (Binc) board has voted to make the organization's pilot bookstore disaster relief program into a regular program. The program was being tested in 2017 and 2018 but is now officially part of Binc's offerings.

Local history publisher Arcadia Publishing has announced that Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of major biographies including Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, has joined the company as editor-at-large and senior advisor. He has also invested in Arcadia.

Arthur A. Levine, who headed his own imprint at Scholastic, is leaving Scholastic to form his own independent publishing company; Levine was also responsible for introducing Harry Potter to the U.S. Scholastic will remain the publisher of Harry Potter titles in the U.S. and will continue to publish the Levine imprint’s backlist.

Starting this spring, Ingram Publisher Services will be handling sales and distribution in the U.S. and Canada for two new publishers: Perilous Worlds, a sci-fi and fantasy book publishing house and a division of Cabinet Entertainment, and Chiltern Publishing, a U.K. publisher of highly designed classics with companion journals.

On April 1, Keith Riegert will rejoin Ulysses Press as executive vice president and publisher after working in marketing analytics at Hachette Book Group for the past two years. Bryce Willett is stepping down as executive vice president, but will continue to serve as a consultant.

Roxanne Jones has been hired as a senior publicist for Harlequin’s MIRA Books, Park Row Books, and Hanover Square Press. She has joined HarperCollins from Berkley, where she was a publicist.

The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell is offering free online courses. A partnership between Bank of America and Cornell University, this new online learning portal provides women entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge and resources to build, manage, and scale a successful business.

The National Book Critics Circle announced the winners of its 2019 literary awards at a March 14 ceremony at The New School in New York City. In January, the organization announced that Tommy Orange had won the John Leonard Prize for Best First Book for There There (Knopf),  the June 2018 Indie Next list number-one pick. Orange was also awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award for his debut novel this week.

The Windham-Campbell Prizes announced eight winners in four categories. Each winner received $165,000.

Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain al-Hathloul and Eman al-Nafjan, three Saudi women’s rights activists arrested last year, have won PEN America’s PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which is given to writers imprisoned for their work. 

Twenty-eight shortlist titles for the Reading the West Book Awards, given annually by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA), were announced today. Booksellers of the region and their customers can vote here for the winning titles, which will be announced on April 15th, 2019 via email and social media.

Share your news in BTW News Briefs! Publishers and industry partners are welcome to e-mail editorial@bookweb.org with news about awards, imprint launches, distribution changes, staff promotions, and more.