Peter Olson, the chief executive of Random House, is said to be stepping down from his post in the next few weeks. The New York Times reported yesterday that the fifty-year-old, who has been running Random House since 1998, has recently come under pressure as the publisher's worldwide revenue fell 5.6 percent last year.
Daily News from Poets & Writers
Last Friday Stanley Plumly was awarded a 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his tenth poetry collection, Old Heart (Norton), at a ceremony at Royce Hall on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Master of ceremonies Gay Talese presided at the annual event, during which awards were given in nine categories. Andrew O'Hagan won the award in fiction for his third novel Be Near Me (Harcourt), and Dinaw Mengestu won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction for The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead Books). Each winner received a thousand dollars.
Cynthia Ozick, the author of five story collections, including Dictation, published last month by Houghton Mifflin, recently received two lifetime achievement awards.
Lexus Magazine, a quarterly for owners of the luxury cars, recently launched the first installment of its 2008 Lexus Original Fiction Series, which will feature the work of nine notable authors, including Arthur Phillips, Richard McCann, and Curtis Sittenfeld. The series amounts to a collaborative novella titled In the Belly of the Beast. (The main characters of the story lovingly refer to—and constantly comment on—their Lexus IS F as "Beast” as they travel across country.)
Bill Johnston, one of the leading translators of Polish literature in the country, was recently named the winner of the inaugural Found in Translation Award, established last year by the Polish Book Institute, the Polish Cultural Institute in London and New York, and the W.A.B. Publishing House in Warsaw.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today the launch of the Big Read Egypt/U.S., the second international component of the organization's community-based literary program.
McSweeney's Books, the imprint of Dave Eggers's ten-year-old literary magazine McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, recently signed a distribution deal with Atlantic Books in London, the Bookseller reported yesterday. Under the new deal, which was brokered by agents Scott Moyers in New York City and Sarah Chalfont in London, Atlantic Books will distribute six McSweeney's titles per year in the U.K. and the Commonwealth. The first title is Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story.
International PEN, the parent organization of PEN American Center, recently launched a "virtual demonstration" to raise awareness about freedom of expression in China as protests continue during the twenty-one-nation Olympic torch relay leading up to the Beijing games in August. The international association of writers arranged to have the poem "June" by imprisoned Chinese poet and journalist Shi Tao translated into over sixty languages. The poem is being sent electronically to cities around the world to correspond to the different destinations of the Olympic torch.
The 2008 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, and for the first time since 1922—the year poetry was entered as a category—two poets took home the honors.
On Tuesday, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced the winners of the 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship Awards. Ten poets and seven fiction writers from the United States and Canada who demonstrate "distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment" each received grants averaging $43,157.
The president of Edith Wharton Restoration, the organization that owns and maintains the Mount, the author's landmark estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, has stepped down, the New York Times reports. Stephanie Copeland, who served as president since 1993, led the restoration of the Mount, which began in 2001 and has received awards for preservation. The site is now on the register of National Historic Landmarks.