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Updated: 12 min 34 sec ago

Denis Johnson, award winning writer, playwright and poet has died aged 67

4 hours 2 min ago
Denis Johnson, the award-winning fiction writer, poet, and playwright whose best-known and most influential work, the story collection Jesus' Son, turned 25 this year, has died. He was 67. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.

Jean Fritz, author of ground-breaking historical biographies for children, died aged 101

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 09:33
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.

The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.

Businesses unite to advocate to retain federal library funding

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 11:24
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.

Margarita Engle named Young People's Poet Laureate

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 10:38
Margarita Engle has been named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Awarded every two years, the $25,000 laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. The laureate advises the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to young people's literature.

Suite Francaise, adapted from Irene Nemirovsky, will premiere on Lifetime May 22

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 05:00
Suite Française, adapted from the bestselling book by Irene Nemirovsky will premiere on the Lifetime network May 22.

California bookstore files suit against a state law preventing stores selling autographed books or hosting author events

Sat, 05/13/2017 - 10:49
Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Book Passage--with stores in Corte Madera, Sausalito and San Francisco, Calif.--and co-owner Bill Petrocelli have filed suit against a state law that, the plaintiffs say, "will make it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell autographed books or host author events."

Petrocelli said that the law's "expensive mandates--with voluminous reporting requirements and draconian penalties--create a nightmare for independent booksellers that thrive on author events and book signings. Consumers will also suffer. The tradition of author events at bookstores, with opportunities for direct interaction between writers and readers, will be shattered. The cost of record-keeping and major liability threaten to make book signings impossible, and stores such as mine do not want to engage in the massive intrusion on customer privacy that is mandated by the law's reporting rules."

Publishers and author organizations join the many others criticizing Amazon's new policy

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 09:34
Several publishers and authors organizations have officially joined the many book world people criticizing Amazon's new policy allowing third-party booksellers to "bid" for the primary spot in buy buttons.

A statement from the Authors Guild called the move "deeply disturbing" and said it "has the potential to decimate authors' and publishers' earnings from many books, especially backlist books." It noted, too, that the policy might be connected with Amazon's desire to force publishers to use its print-on-demand services, if POD availability will essentially guarantee a top spot on buy buttons. Such an arrangement, the Guild wrote, "looks an awful lot like a 'tying' arrangement under the antitrust law."

The statement concluded: "Amazon has already done enough damage in the book industry. It has devalued books by setting the price and consumer expectations for e-books and hard copy books artificially low, even taking a loss to do so. And it extracts an unreasonable fee from the sale of any book through its site, as compared to the services it provides, and charges extra for things it calls 'marketing services,' such as making a book discoverable on its site. Amazon gets away with this because it has monopoly and monopsony power over the retail book industry. Without a fair and open publishing marketplace, publishers will soon lose the ability to invest in the books that advance our knowledge and culture."

Amazon allows third-party book re-sellers to "win" buy buttons on book pages

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 12:00
A new program from Amazon is drawing a range of reactions from those across the publishing industry, from fear to downright anger. The e-tailer has started allowing third-party book re-sellers to "win" buy buttons on book pages. The program, publishers, agents, and authors allege, is discouraging customers from buying new books, negatively affecting sales and revenue.

Granta announces its once in a decade Best Young American Novelists list

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 03:18
Just once every 10 years Granta issues a special issue focued on new American fiction, "showcasing the young novelists deemed to be the best of their generation--writers of remarkable achievement and promise, still in their twenties and thirties."

It's Best of Young American Novelists of 2017 list includes "21 outstanding writers who capture the preoccupations of modern America." The authors are: Jesse Ball, Halle Butler, Emma Cline, Joshua Cohen, Mark Doten, Jen George, Rachel B Glaser, Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Garth Risk Hallberg, Greg Jackson, Sana Krasikov, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, Dinaw Mengestu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Chinelo Okparanta, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Claire Vaye Watkins.

Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, dies aged 88

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:46
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died yesterday at age 88.

First published in 1974 by William Morrow, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values was a spectacularly popular philosophy book that was loosely autobiographical, tracing a father-son motorcycle trip and flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Its thesis was that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought. Pirsig called this system of thought the Metaphysics of Quality.

First John Grisham bookstore tour for 25 years

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:10
Bestselling author John Grisham will celebrate the publication of his 30th novel, Camino Island ( June 6), with his first bookstore tour in 25 years. On his website, Grisham shares the schedule and event guidelines for the tour, which will feature a book signing and discussion/q&a at each of twelve stops.

Mark your calendars for Independent Bookstore Day!

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:29
Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the USA on the last Saturday in April. Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Not online. Find events near you at the official website:

US bookstore sales down 3% year on year in February

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:27
February bookstore sales fell 3%, to $744 million, compared to February 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This is the third monthly drop in a row. For the first two months of the year, bookstore sales have fallen 3.6%, to $2.3 billion, compared to the first two months of 2016.

Colson Whitehead wins Pulitzer

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 17:28
Colson Whitehead has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Underground Railroad.

The New York Times provides a comprehensive report on all categories, including the three prizes awarded to its own journalists...

Richard Bolles, author of "What Color is Your Parachute" dies aged 90

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 11:50
Richard N. Bolles, a former Harvard physics major, Episcopal minister and career counselor whose own twisting vocational path led to his writing "What Color Is Your Parachute?" — the most popular job-hunter's manual of the 1970s and beyond — died on Friday in San Ramon, Calif. He was 90.

Barnes & Noble hires - and fires - new CEO in just one hour!

Sat, 04/01/2017 - 05:00
In less than an hour yesterday, Doug McMillion, the president and CEO of Wal-Mart, was hired and then fired as CEO of Barnes & Noble.

McMillion, a lifelong Wal-Mart employee - was considered by many a coup for B&N. But only 20 minutes after the first press release was issued announcing McMillionhad been hired, a second release announced that he had been let go. The company described McMillion as "not a good fit" and said that "it is in the best interests of all parties for him to leave--or, in fact, not even start." B&N said it would honor McMillion's contract, which was a multi-year agreement with sizable salary guarantees.

Bob Dylan will receive Nobel prize this weekend but when will he give his lecture?

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 19:24
After months of suspense and typically inscrutable standoffishness, Bob Dylan, the elusive Nobel laureate, will finally accept his literature prize at a meeting with members of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm this weekend. Yet uncertainty remains as to how, or even when, Dylan will deliver the lecture on his subject that is required within six months of the prize ceremony (which was last December).

Henrietta Lacks' family feuds as movie release date draws near

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 05:00
Just weeks before the April 22 first broadcast of Oprah Winfrey's movie for HBO based on Rebecca Skloot's book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the Washington Post reports on the feud that has broken out between members of the Lacks family.

AP style for first time allows use of they as singular pronoun #grammar

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 03:36
The Associated Press Stylebook says it is "opening the door" to use of the singular they. A new stylebook entry, which was announced last week as part of the AP's session at the 21st national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the first time allows use of they as a singular pronoun or gender-neutral pronoun.

Chet Cunningham, author of more than 450 books, dies aged 88

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 13:44
Prolific writer Chet Cunningham, author of more than 450 books including Westerns, thrillers, military history, medical guides, died March 14 aged 88. Cunningham "credited his output to his daily deadline training as a journalist and to a work ethic that usually had him in his home office for 10 hours a day."