Behind the Prize

Perugia Press announced last week that Jennifer K. Sweeney of Kalamazoo, Michigan, won the Perugia Press Prize for her second poetry collection, How to Live on Bread and Music. She received $1,000, and her book will be published in a print-run of one thousand copies in September. The award is given for a first or second collection by a woman poet.

Sweeney’s manuscript was 1 of 478 manuscripts submitted last November to the prize, which charged a $22 entry fee. The judging process involved several stages: Entries were first stripped of all identifying materials and then sent to a dozen screeners who winnowed the pool down to sixteen. Those semi-finalists were sent to eight judges, who gathered for a full day of reading and discussion, at the end of which two finalists were chosen. According to Kan, Sweeney’s manuscript stood out for the author’s "confidence with language, her willingness to let her intelligence become apparent slowly."

The two finalists were sent to three final judges, but while the manuscripts were being read, one of them was withdrawn because it was taken by another press.

"This has never happened at Perugia Press before," says Kan. "It took the wind out of our sails for a day, but ultimately, knowing that both books will be published is a win-win situation and confirms that our selection process is sound."

Perugia plans to promote the book through its mailing list and by sending out galleys to review publications. “We strongly encourage our poets to plan as many readings as possible,” says Kan. “That's the best way to share the work and sell books.” Sweeney’s book will be available on Perugia’s Web site, through Amazon.com, and in independent bookstores across the country.


Center for Book Arts Celebrates Letterpress Centennial

by Staff
3.11.09

The Center for Book Arts in New York City is celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the Vandercook Proof printing press with a series of events and the publication of the limited edition Vandercook Book, a collaborative artist book featuring work created using the press.

Barnes & Noble Buys E-book Retailer Fictionwise

by Staff
3.10.09

Barnes & Noble last week announced that it had acquired New Jersey-based e-book retailer Fictionwise for $15.7 million. In a press release, the bookseller said it plans to integrate Fictionwise into a digital strategy that includes the launch of an e-bookstore later this year.

Independent Publishers March Through Small Press Month

by Staff
3.9.09

The thirteenth annual Small Press Month, a nationwide celebration of the contributions of independent book publishers, is underway. Cosponsored by the New York Center for Independent Publishing, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and the Independent Book Publishers Association, the schedule of events includes readings, book launches, author appearances, and other events that shore up support for and promote unity among small presses.

Shrine of Sufi Poet Destroyed

by Staff
3.6.09

The shrine and grave of Sufi poet Rahman Baba, located outside the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, were bombed on Thursday, and according to local authorities, members of the Taliban are suspected of the attack.

Wolff Wins Story Prize, Phillips and Sheff Get Discovered

Wednesday was a busy day for book awards ceremonies in New York City. At the New School last night, Tobias Wolff was named winner of the annual Story Prize for Our Story Begins (Knopf, 2008), edging out finalists Jumpha Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth, Knopf) and Joe Meno (Demons in the Spring, Akashic Books). Earlier in the day, Gin Phillips and David Sheff were named winners of Barnes & Noble's sixteenth Discover Great New Writers Awards. Phillips won in fiction for her debut novel The Well and the Mine (Hawthorne Books) and Sheff won in nonfiction for his memoir Beautiful Boy (Houghton Mifflin).

Wolff received twenty thousand dollars, while Phillips and Sheff each received ten thousand dollars as well as a year of additional marketing and merchandising support from Barnes & Noble. But the winners aren't the only ones with a little extra coin in the bank today. Story Prize finalists Lahiri and Meno each received five thousand dollars, while the second- and third-place finalists in the Discover Great New Writers Awards program each received five thousand dollars and twenty-five hundred dollars respectively. Those finalists are Benjamin Tayler for The Book of Getting Even (Steerforth Press) and Zachary Lazar for Sway (Little, Brown) in fiction and Eric Weiner for The Geography of Bliss (Twelve) and Nia Wyn for Blue Sky July (Dutton) in nonfiction.

That's sixty-five thousand dollars doled out to nine writers on one day in one city, which, considering today's installment of Daily News, is cause for either excitement or resentment, depending on your disposition.

 

 

Unemployment Rate Among Writers Hit 6.6 Percent in 2008

by Staff
3.5.09

The National Endowment for the Arts released a new study yesterday that shows the unemployment rate among the nation's working artists, including writers, hit 6 percent in the final quarter of 2008. The unemployment rate for writers and authors alone is slightly higher: 6.6 percent.

Sonia Sanchez Wins the Robert Creeley Award

Poet Sonia Sanchez, author of sixteen books and a Cave Canem faculty member, has received the 2009 Robert Creeley Award. A ceremony will be held on March 23 at the R. J. Grey Jr. High School Auditorium in Acton, Massachusetts; admission is free. Sanchez also will select books that have influenced her writing for inclusion in the Acton Memorial Library collection.

In its ninth year, the Creeley Award honors the memory of Robert Creeley, who lived in Acton, Massachusetts, from the age of four to fifteen. It has brought a variety of distinguished poets, including Galway Kinnell, Grace Paley, Martin Espada, and C. D. Wright, to read in Acton. Last year's winner was John Ashbery. Take a look:

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