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The Authors Guild

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Mary Beard is a classics professor at the University of Cambridge and the subject of a profile in the September 1 New Yorker. Her latest book is Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up.

The magazine article is mainly about the constant attacks to which Beard is subjected because she is a smart woman who makes herself heard. She often appears on England’s BBC television. She said, “It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.”

She is subjected to threats of “a predictable menu of rape, bombing, murder, and so forth.” One tweet directed to her: “I’m going to cut off your head and rape it.”

TIME OFF: Bill Hayes is the author of The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy. In an essay called “On Not Writing” in The New York Times, he wrote, “To be a writer is to make a commitment to the long haul, as one does to keeping healthy for as long a run as possible. For me, this means staying active physically and creatively, remaining curious and interested in learning new skills, and of course giving myself ample periods of rest, days or even weeks off. I know that the writer in me, like the lifelong fitness devotee, will be better off.”

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes poetry and fiction. The deadline for each contest is Sept 30.

The Hackney Literary Awards are currently seeking submissions for best unpublished novel. Length is open but the novel must be unpublished. The winner will receive $5,000. Entry fee: $30. Deadline: September 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Philip Levine Prize in Poetry is an annual book contest sponsored by the MFA Program at California State University, Fresno. Manuscript should be original poetry, not previously published in book form, and should be 48-80 pages, with no more than one poem per page. The winner will receive $2,000, book publication by Anhinga Press, and 25 copies of the book. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: September 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

With schools starting to open this time of year, the Times Book Review offered many pages of comment about that timely subject.

Asked to recommend a favorite book about schools, Times staffer Ariel Kaminer, said, “A great many books have recently come out that ask hard and necessary questions about higher education. Its value. Its impact on America’s class structure. Urgent issues, of course. But for favorites? I have to go with Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise. A savagely funny send-up of academia (and the hyper-specific anxieties it can engender) that does not ever stoop to outright ridicule.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Rennie Airth, Julia E. Antoine, Carol Brendler, Marlene Targ Brill, Sandra Cuza, Kathryn Erskine, Lee Gutkind, Jessie Haas, Liza Ketchum, Mary Jo Putney, Chris Raschka, Alberto Ruy-Sanchez, Charles Sheehan-Miles, and William Wells. Titles below the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes a mixed bag of poetry and fiction prizes. The deadline for each is September 15.

The University of Wisconsin Press is now seeking submissions for two poetry awards: the Brittingham Prize and the Felix Pollak Prize. Prizes are awarded annually to the two best book-length manuscripts of original poetry submitted. Each submission will be considered for both prizes. Each winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Entry fee: $25 per manuscript, but covers entry for both prizes. Deadline: September 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Literal Latté Essay Award is now open for submissions. Essays must be unpublished and should not exceed 8,000 words. The winner receives $1,000; second place receives $300; third place receives $200. Entry fee: $10 per essay or $15 for two essays. All entries will be considered for publication. Deadline: September 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Actress Lauren Bacall, 89, died August 12 in Manhattan. She was the author of two autobiographies, and is believed to have written them herself. One of her many strokes of luck was that her editor was Robert Gottlieb, probably the best in the business. Lauren Bacall, By Myself won a National Book Award in 1980. Now (1984) was the title of the second autobiography.

Her Page 1 obit in The New York Times ended with a quote: “I spent my childhood in New York, riding on subways and buses. And you know what you learn if you’re a New Yorker? The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Hester Bass, Sallie Bingham, Betty G. Birney, Lewis Buzbee, Jules Feiffer, Lucy Frank, Sabine Heinlein, Brian Heinz, Michael Largo, Kirby Larson, D.M. Pirrone, Douglas Preston, Elizabeth Rusch, and David Ezra Stein. Titles below the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes three residencies, including the well known MacDowell Colony, the oldest artists’ colony in the U.S. Deadlines range from Sept 4-15.

The Hambidge Residency is currently accepting applications for the mid-February through April residency period. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the residency allows artists to explore, develop, and express their creative voices. Residencies last from two weeks to two months depending on availability and the residency fee is $200 per week. All new applicants will be considered for the NEA Fellowship which provides a $700 stipend and waives the $400 residency fee for two week residencies. Other scholarships are also available. Applicants should submit a 300 word bio, a resume, and a writing sample of up to 30 pages of prose or 5-8 poems. Application fee: $30.Deadline: September 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Navigating the Amazon-Hachette Dispute

It has been a lively week in the book world. Many of our members have been asking what we’re doing and how we feel about the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette, in which Amazon has played a tough game of hardball, slowing or blocking the delivery of thousands of titles.

This weekend a group of some 900 authors published a two-page ad in the New York Times criticizing these tactics. The organizer, Douglas Preston, is a member of our board, and several of his fellow Council members, along with many members of the Authors Guild, signed the letter, which you can read here. It said: “As writers—most of us not published by Hachette—we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation.” That’s something we all agree with. And it’s not right for Amazon to claim that they were forced to do this: no one made them do this.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

“Google and Barnes & Noble Unite to Take on Amazon,” said a headline in The New York Times. The two were zeroing in on a fast, cheap delivery of books in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area. Customers can get books through the Google Shopping Express.

The Times explained: “Amazon poses a persistent and growing threat to Google and Barnes & Noble. Its rise has contributed to lagging sales and diminished foot traffic in Barnes & Noble’s physical stores, and it dominates the online market for print books.”

Google uses couriers who pick up products from local stores and deliver them in about three to four hours. Service is free to subscribers of Google Shopping Express, and costs $4.99 per delivery for others. Amazon charges $5.99 for members of its Prime program and $9.99 for others.

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