BTW News Briefs

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Marcus to Leave Scholastic After Potter Publication

On April 6, Scholastic announced that Barbara Marcus, president of children's book publishing and distribution and executive vice president of Scholastic Inc., had decided to leave the company following the July 16, 2005, release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Marcus worked at Scholastic for 22 years and supervised the publication and release of all five previous Potter books. She will be succeeded by Lisa Holton, senior vice president, publisher, Global Disney Children's Books.

2005 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Announced

On April 6, Scott Griffin, chairman of the Griffin Trust announced the Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist for 2005. The Griffin Poetry Prize is awarded annually for the two best books of poetry (including translations) published in English the previous year. This year, 433 eligible books from 17 different countries, translated from eight different languages, were submitted for 2005. The winners, who each receive C$50,000, will be announced on June 2 at the fifth Griffin Poetry Prize awards event.

On the Canadian Shortlist are:

  • On the Ground by Fanny Howe (Graywolf Press)
  • Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida by Roo Borson (McClelland and Stewart Ltd.)
  • Corpus by Michael Symmons Roberts (Jonathan Cape)

The International shortlist is available at

SEBA Announces 2005 Award Finalists

The Southeast Booksellers Association has announced the finalists for the 2005 SEBA Book Awards, which recognize great books of Southern origin. The winners will be announced on June 1, 2005.

The Fiction finalists are:

  • The Coal Tattoo by Silas House (Algonquin)
  • Why Dogs Chase Cars by George Singleton (Algonquin)
  • My Old True Love by Sheila Kay Adams (Algonquin)
  • Saints at the River by Ron Rash (Holt)
  • Shem Creek by Dorothea Benton Frank (Berkley)
  • Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews (HarperCollins)
  • A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg (Random House)

For the complete list of finalists, which include the categories of Nonfiction, Poetry, Cookbooks, and Children, go to

Librarian Named PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award Recipient

On April 4, PEN American Center announced that librarian Joan Airoldi, who challenged an FBI effort to search patron records, is the 2005 recipient of the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. Airoldi will receive the $25,000 prize at PEN's annual gala on April 20 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

On June 8, 2004, an FBI agent visited the Deming branch of the Whatcom County Library System in rural Washington and demanded the names of all library patrons who had borrowed the book Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America (Prima Lifestyles). The FBI made the request after a reader contacted the agency to report that someone had left a handwritten note in the margin of the book that was almost a direct quote from a statement made by Osama Bin Laden in a 1998 interview.

In a press release, Pen American Center said, "As a librarian and the director of the Whatcom County Rural Library District, Airoldi organized and guided the library's efforts to fight the request, protecting patrons' right to read what they wish free of government scrutiny. The Deming branch refused to provide information to the visiting agent, and the library system informed the FBI that no information would be released without a subpoena or court order. The library Board then voted to fight any subsequent subpoena in court.

"On June 18, a grand jury subpoena was served requesting the names and any other identifying information of patrons who had borrowed the Bin Laden biography since November 15, 2001. At a special meeting of the Board, the library resolved to go ahead with a motion to quash the subpoena on the grounds that the request infringed on the First Amendment rights of readers; that libraries have the right to disseminate information freely and confidentially, without the chilling effects of disclosure; and that Washington state's library confidentiality laws protected the records.... On July 14, the library learned that the FBI had withdrawn the grand jury subpoena."