Total U.S. book production reached an all-time high of 195,000 titles in 2004, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year, according to a recent study by R.R. Bowker, the publisher of the Books in Print database and the official agency for assigning ISBNs in the United States.
Daily News from Poets & Writers
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) recently announced that it will join the newly formed Literary Ventures Fund (LVF) to support small presses with both funding and marketing expertise. The organizations hope the merger will raise the profile of literary works published by independent presses.
Cliff Becker, the director of literature at the National Endowment of the Arts, died on May 17 of a heart attack. He was 40 years old.
The papers of Norman Mailer were recently purchased by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Nearly five hundred boxes, weighing more than twenty-thousand pounds, filled with unpublished stories, journals, essays, and screenplays, as well as manuscripts of nearly all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's forty books, will be shipped to the Ransom Center early in the summer.
The University of Iowa recently named fiction writer Lan Samantha Chang as the new director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Chang, who currently teaches creative writing at Harvard, will begin at Iowa in January 2006.
The finalists for several literary awards were recently announced.
Fiction writers Richard Bausch, Lan Samantha Chang, Ben Marcus, and Jim Shepard have been chosen as finalists for the directorship of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Each has been asked to present a public reading at the University of Iowa.
Apart from brief interludes on The Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC’s Today, books don’t often end up on U.S. television. The recent launch of the Quill Awards—a new national book award program sponsored by Reed Business Information and NBC that will include a televised ceremony in October—may have authors feeling like celebrities, but an entire network show devoted to the written word is still a rarity. Not so in the United Kingdom, where several programs are proving that literature can make compelling television.
The National Book Critics Circle, a nonprofit organization composed of 600 book critics and reviewers from across the country, recently announced the finalists for the 2004 book awards.
Jean Valentine won the 2004 National Book Award in poetry for Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003 (Wesleyan University Press).
Six women writers recently received Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards. Poets Dana Levin, Tracy Smith, and Sharon Strange, fiction writers Carin Clevidence and Ann Harleman, and creative nonfiction writer Michele Morano each received $10,000.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently announced that fiction writers Edward P. Jones and Aleksandar Hemon and poet C.D. Wright are among 23 recipients of this year's $500,000 "genius" fellowships.
Brian Lamb, the host of Booknotes, an author interview program on the cable television network C-SPAN, recently announced that the weekly program will cease production in December.
Frank Conroy, the fourth director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the oldest academic writing program in the country, will step down in December. A successor has not yet been announced.
Brian Chikwava, a fiction writer who was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, won the 2004 Caine Prize for African writing for his story "Seventh Street Alchemy."
This year marks the centennial of the births of several renowned literary writers, including Isaac Bashevis Singer, Pablo Neruda, Louis Zukofsky, and Graham Greene.
Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything Is Illuminated (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), recently announced that he returned the money he received from the PEN American Center when he won the PEN/Robert Bigham Fellowship last month.
British fiction writer Andrea Levy recently won the Orange Prize for Fiction for her fourth novel Small Island (Review Books). She received £30,000 (approximately $54,900).
The Man Group, the sponsor of the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction, recently announced it will award the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005.
Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, located at the foothills of Palomar Mountain in Southern California, was destroyed by a wildfire on May 2, 2004. All of the buildings on the 300-acre nature preserve were reduced to ash and rubble. The five artists in residence at the time were evacuated safely, but a large number of antiques were lost.
The American Booksellers Association recently compiled Best Books: The Best of Book Sense From the First Five Years, a list of titles that U.S. independent booksellers most enjoyed selling during the past five years. Booksellers voted from a ballot that included 371 titles culled from Book Sense 76 lists. The final list consists of 25 books in the categories of Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction, and Children's.