Poets House, the nonprofit poetry library and literary center in New York City, announced recently that it will honor Cave Canem founders Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady with the Elizabeth Kray Award, given biennially to individuals who serve poetry in the spirit of Kray, who founded Poets House, along with Stanley Kunitz, in 1985. The award will be presented to Derricotte and Eady following the thirteenth annual Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge, a benefit event for Poets House, on June 9.
Daily News from Poets & Writers
James Frey has had quite a week. His novel, Bright Shiny Day, published last Tuesday by HarperCollins, has sold 14,343 copies, according Nielson BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of a book's total sales.
Nineteenth-century poet William McGonagall, once dismissed as the world's worst, received posthumous compensation as a collection of thirty-five poems went for £6,600 (approximately thirteen thousand dollars) at auction last Friday in the poet's native Edinburgh, Scotland, BBC News reported.
The Man Booker Prize, the prestigious annual award given for a novel by a writer from the British Commonwealth or Ireland, will celebrate its fortieth anniversary by honoring one of its previous winners with the Best of the Booker Prize, judged ultimately by the reading public. Anyone may cast a vote for one of the six Best of the Booker finalists, selected from forty-one winning novels dating back to 1969 by judges Victoria Glendinning, Mariella Frostrup, and John Mullan.
Tommy Lee Jones is planning to adapt, produce, direct, and star in a film version of Ernest Hemingway's posthumous novel Island in the Stream (Scribner, 1970), Reuters reports. Morgan Freeman and John Goodman are reportedly in discussions to be involved in the project.
HarperCollins announced yesterday that it is phasing out paper catalogues and replacing them with interactive, online lists of upcoming releases. The publisher plans to launch a beta version of the electronic catalogue in six to twelve months. By summer 2009, HarperCollins spokesperson Erin Crum told Publishers Weekly, the publisher's practice of sending out a hundred thousand paper catalogues to booksellers and librarians for each of the three publishing seasons—summer, winter, and fall—will be a thing of the past (though a limited number of print copies will still be produced).
Everyone knows there's no sure-fire way of selling a debut novel, but a couple recent deals prove that it helps if the author is a famous actor's brother or a former supermodel.
New York City subway riders may be seeing a litte less poetry these days—thanks to a recent decision by the Metropolitan Transit Authority to discontinue the Poetry Society of America's Poetry in Motion program—but commuters on buses in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Orlando are seeing more.
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announced last week that rapper and actor Ice-T will join the orchestra in a performance of Langston Hughes's poetry, known as the Langston Hughes Project, next month. On June 18, the Grammy winner will read Hughes's twelve-part poetry collection Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz (Random House, 1961) as the orchestra, joined by the McCurdy/Wright jazz quartet, performs original music composed by Ron McCurdy, founder of the project and chairman of the jazz department at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music.
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.
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.