BTW News Briefs [4]

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

With the voting process for PBS’ eight-part series The Great American Read underway, the broadcaster has announced the 40 book titles that are currently leading the pack [5], a result of the more than two million votes cast nationwide to decide America’s best-loved novel. New episodes of the show will premiere on PBS starting on Tuesday, September 11, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Viewers can continue voting for their favorite titles on PBS’ website. [6]

The Children’s Book Council has created a downloadable activity kit  [7]as part of Jacqueline Woodson’s tenure as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The theme of the kit, which contains games, Woodson’s own list of recommended reading, and more, is based on her motto as ambassador: Reading = Hope x Change (What’s your equation?).

Shambhala Publications’ new children’s imprint, Bala Kids, will debut in spring 2019. [8] Ivan Bercholz, son of Shambhala Publications founder Sam Bercholz, is the line’s publisher, and Juree Sondker is its editorial director. The company, which publishes books on Buddhism, religion, philosophy, meditation and mindfulness, and more, first announced the imprint last year, but its rollout was delayed.

Author V.S. Naipaul died August 11 [9] at the age of 85, the New York Times reported. Born into Trinidad’s Indian immigrant community and later emigrating to Britain, Naipaul wrote novels and nonfiction exploring “the migrations of peoples” and “the unraveling of the British Empire.” He won the 1971 Booker Prize for his novel In a Free State and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. His many books include A Bend in the River, A House for Mr. Biswas, and Among the Believers.

Cheryl A. Young will retire [10] as executive director of the MacDowell Colony after serving in the position since 1997. She will remain in the job until early 2019, when a successor will take over. The MacDowell Colony is one of the nation’s leading contemporary arts organizations and hands out annual artists’ fellowships.

Todd McGarity has been promoted [11] to vice president of business development at Hachette Book Group; he first joined Hachette as vice president of client services nine years ago. In this new role, McGarity will continue to grow the company’s client services business and facilitate the company’s continued expansion through acquisition efforts.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize has named the finalists for the award [12], which is given annually for fiction and for nonfiction. The prize, which was inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, celebrates the power of literature to promote peace, justice, and global understanding. The two winners will be announced on September 18.

The Before Columbus Foundation has announced the winners of the 39th Annual American Book Awards [13], which were “created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community,” though there are no quotas for diversity, the award website notes. The winning authors will be recognized on October 28 at a ceremony at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco.

Joe Sacksteder was named the winner [14] of independent publisher Schaffner Press’ fifth annual Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature. As part of the award, the press will publish his novel Driftless Quintet in October 2019. Sacksteder is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah; Make/Shift, his debut story collection, is forthcoming from Sarabande Books.

Share your news in BTW News Briefs! Publishers and industry partners are welcome to e-mail [15] with news about awards, imprint launches, distribution changes, staff promotions, and more.