As I’m sure most of you know, October is National Book Month – a blissful, 31-day period dedicated to America’s favorite pastime (#sorrynotsorry, baseball fans). Since 2003, the National Book Foundation has spent the greater part of October hyping its finalists for the National Book Award, one of the highest honors awarded in American literature. Continue reading “Link of the Week | National Book Foundation”
Alright everyone, mark your calendars tout de suite. The Brooklyn Book Festival is THIS SUNDAY, Sept. 17th at 10am at Brooklyn Borough Hall & Plaza 209 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn, NY. The largest free literary event in New York City, #BKBF is a great way to “casually run into” new voices and literary powerhouses in the publishing industry. To name-drop just a few, five authors participating in the event include:
- Karl Ove Knausgård, author of six autobiographical novels
- Joyce Carol Oates, author of A Book of American Martyrs
- Sarah Dessen, author of Once and For All and The Truth about Forever
- Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir
- Hisham Matar, author of Anatomy of a Disappearance
- …and hundreds of others
The Women’s National Book Association, NYC chapter (WNBA-NYC) and National Reading Group Month will also be exhibiting at the fair. (Pace Publishing Professor Jane Kinney Denning is the President of WNBA-National.) Located at Booth 345, they will be showcasing:
- Membership Benefits
- Events Calendar
- Reading Group Guides
- NRGM Great Group Reads Information and Lists
- Raffle Prizes
- … and more!
Member Volunteers are also needed for the festival! Volunteers will get a chance to meet new people, promote the organization, and spend time with other WNBA members. If you are interested in volunteering for the event, please register here (organizers have asked that you include times that you’re available).
Now is the best time to join the WNBA. As a member during the organization’s Centennial year, you’ll get free admission to WNBA Centennial celebrations and other publishing events throughout the season. Student membership is $20, a great value in the city for aspiring publishers and writers. For more information on membership, you can visit the WNBA membership page.
In the last couple of weeks three iconic companies made major moves toward reinvention, however these moves are not reflecting a positive outlook on their own futures, or for the print magazine industry overall.
First, Time Inc. laid off 300 people recently. “The June 13th cutbacks came three years almost to the week when the company spun off from Time Warner,” according to the Folio article. The company is also relocating one of its titles, Food & Wine, to Alabama, partly because of cost considerations. Wenner Media announced it had sold Men’s Journal to American Media. This sale leaves the once-powerful company with just a 51 percent stake in flagship Rolling Stone and a gaming website launched last year. Rodale was also said to have cut 80-100 employees ahead of an announcement “that it is exploring strategic options.” The company announced in January that “it was selling some of its properties in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, in a bid to centralize and to raise $4.6 million.”
Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista, through a spokesperson, told Folio writer Tony Silber “that further consolidation (presumably of the kind that just happened at his company) is likely given the long-term secular decline in print.” It seems for media companies today, it is more important to build a bran than to rely on print businesses and practices.
“The industry is evolving quickly, and while change can be disruptive, it also brings opportunity,” a senior Rodale executive said to Silber.
VIDA is seeking a determined, meticulous, and thorough intern to assist with the VIDA Count. The VIDA count is a well-publicized annual tally of the gender disparity in publishing. It is the counter’s job to research and determine the gender identity of writers as well as the genre of the work published.
The VIDA Count will require strong knowledge and use of:
• Google Docs
• Microsoft Excel
• Google Hangout
The 2017 internship will run from August 2017 through March 2018. Counters must be able to commit to the full term and spend an average of 5 hours per week on the project, in a combination of solo tallying work and team numbers reconciliation sessions. Applications for the 2017 Count are due by July 15, 2017.
If you are interested in volunteering to be a Counter for the VIDA Count, please send a resume and letter of interest with subject line “VIDA Counter Candidate [Surname]” to Sara Iacovelli at email@example.com.
This month the magical realm of Harry Potter, created by J.K. Rowling, is celebrating it’s twentieth year. The success of the book series transferred into a successful film series starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, as well as a popular website (Pottermore), Spin-off titles like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which also found success as a film), an amusement park attraction (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios), and now a stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
At the time that the first Harry Potter book was released, young adults and children were accustomed to titles and series such as The Babysitter’s Club, that were a bit more lightweight. The Harry Potter series made way for blockbuster sagas like The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent. Harry Potter easily changed the game for YA fiction.
Though not necessarily original in its common tropes of magic, fantasy, adventure, unfair teachers, a common enemy, heroes, etc., Harry Potter was able to resonate with children and young adults in a way that other tiles could not. Claire Fallon in an article for the Huffington Post writes, “Children’s book writers, especially fantasy authors, who were once the masters of their domain found themselves ignored in media coverage and discussions of ‘Harry Potter.'” Perhaps it was Rowling who wrote the right book at the right time, or she was able to masterfully and creatively construct a seven-book mystery/adventure story arc following characters as they aged into adulthood that coincided with her aging and growing audience. Either way, as Joe Monti, Editorial Director of Saga Press says, “Harry Potter made the careers of many authors possible.”
Harry Potter was able to boosts the sales of YA fiction altogether because of its success. “The Atlantic reported that the number of YA books had increased by a factor of 10 between 1997 and 2009.” The series was also able to help rebuild the disparaging reputation that fantasy had as a genre in YA fiction. Monti says, “Fantasy is mainstream.”
Rowling and Harry Potter as a series took on many risks, including long-form story arcs, thick-sized books, and a fantasy genre as well as the idea that the books also age with the audience. Harry Potter takes on darker themes like lengthy battle scenes, concepts of mortality/fatality, and romantic relationships, all of which challenged what YA fiction was at the time and what publishers can put in front of children and young adults.
Harry Potter was able to open up the horizons for what YA literature could be. Rowling also capitalized on the success of her series, which is part if the reason why Harry Potter has been cemented in pop culture history. It continues, to this day, to pave the way for YA fiction authors.