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The Authors Guild

Authors Guild Members Elect Roxana Robinson President

Roxana Robinson & Scott Turow at the 2014 Annual Meeting

Roxana Robinson & Scott Turow at the 2014 Annual Meeting. credit: Luis Garcia

“The challenges are huge. I am thrilled to be a part of it all.”

Judy Blume, Richard Russo, and James Shapiro to serve as vice presidents.

At its annual meeting Wednesday, Authors Guild members elected Roxana Robinson as their president and Judy Blume, Richard Russo, and James Shapiro as co-vice presidents. CJ Lyons joined the Guild’s executive Council. Scott Turow concluded his presidency of the Authors Guild, the largest organization of published book authors in the US, after serving four years. Mr. Turow served tirelessly as the organization’s advocate and voice and led the Guild through its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2012.

During his term, Mr. Turow oversaw landmark mass book digitization and “orphan works” lawsuits against Google and HathiTrust that raise critical issues concerning authors’ rights to exercise control and be fairly compensated for uses of their works. Courts ruled against the Guild in the cases in 2012 and 2013; the Guild is appealing both decisions.

“Groundbreaking lawsuits are most often decided in higher courts,” said Mr. Turow. “We know we were right to bring these cases, and we expect to prevail at the end of the day.”

The lawsuits helped spur widespread debate over digital libraries and copyright, including the Copyright Office’s roundtable discussions last week on mass digitization and orphan works, and the European Union’s ongoing review of its copyright laws pertaining to libraries.

“American writing is alive and well. There is no question about the vitality of our literary community or the vitality of the literary impulse in the United States. There will always be authors, there will always books,” Mr. Turow said at the meeting. “We need to continue the struggle in order to protect writing as a livelihood.”

“As writers, we are living in very interesting times. The challenges are huge,” Ms. Robinson said after her election, “and I am thrilled to be a part of it all. We’re going to move ahead, we’re going to extend our membership, we’re going to continue to offer practical help and advice and a sense of community to our writers, and we’re going to continue to support the craft of writing.”

Guild members re-elected Peter Petre as treasurer and Pat Cummings as secretary, and re-elected Council members Peter Gethers, Annette Gordon-Reed, Nicholas Lemann, Douglas Preston, Michelle Richmond, Cathleen Schine, and Monique Truong.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes a fellowship for parents, the Crab Orchard Review’s genre prizes, and a poetry contest. Deadlines range from April 15-21.

The Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents is currently open for submission. Entrants must be the parent of at least one child under 10 years of age, but can be at any stage in their writing career. All genres and styles of fiction are welcome, but no plays or poetry. Novel excerpts are acceptable if they can stand alone as a story. Entries should not exceed 1,498 words. The winner will receive $1,000 as well as a full year of promotion. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: April 16, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Crab Orchard Review offers three literary prizes: the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize, the Jack Dyer Fiction Prize, and the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. Entries must be previously unpublished, original work written in English by a United States citizen or permanent resident. Poetry entries should consist of one poem up to five pages in length. Prose entries may be up to 6,000 words for fiction and up to 6,500 words for literary nonfiction. Each winner will receive $2,000 and publication. Finalists will receive $500 and publication. Entry fee: $25 per entry (includes a subscription); $10 per additional entry. Deadline: April 21, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize Contest is currently accepting submissions. Entries must be unpublished and can include up to three poems, maximum ten pages in length. The winner will receive poem $1,000 and publication in SRPR. Two runners-up will receive $100 each, and 3-5 honorable mentions will be selected. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription). Deadline: April 15, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Like the main character in his novel Grendel, John Gardner (1933-1982) has just about disappeared in the mists of time. For several years he was a major figure in American literature. Now, he and his almost 30 books seem to have vanished.

In addition to being a prolific novelist, critic and reviewer, he was an admired and influential writing teacher, a regular at Breadloaf and a mentor to Raymond Carver. After his death, his lectures were published in On Becoming a Novelist (1983).

In it, he observed: “A poet to practice his art with success, must have an ear for language so finely tuned and persnickety as to seem to the ordinary novelist almost diseased. The short story writer, since the emotional charge of his fiction must reveal itself quickly, has a similar need for compression, though a need less desperate than the poet’s. In the novelist, a hypersensitive ear may occasionally prove a handicap.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by C.S. Adler, Elizabeth Bluemle, Jenny Bowen, Susan Taylor Chehak, Michael L. Cooper, Corinne Demas, Patrick A. Durantou, Jack Gantos, Lucia Mouat, Michael Elsohn Ross, Sherry Shahan, Peter Stark, and Douglas Whynott. Titles under the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch includes a metrical poetry prize, an award for women writers, a residency at Carson McCullers’ childhood home, and a humor poetry contest. Deadlines range from March 31-April 1.

Carolina Wren Press is currently seeking submissions for one unpublished full-length novel, short story collection, or memoir written by a woman to receive the 2014 Doris Bakwin Award. Portions of the manuscript, (i.e., stories or chapters) may have been previously published, but the work as a whole should be unpublished. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry is currently accepting submissions. Poems must be original, unpublished and metrical (any metrical form). There is no limit to the number of poems entered by an individual. The winner will receive $1,000, publication in Evansville Review, an invitation to read as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry. Entry fee: $5. Deadline: April 1, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

In last week’s orgy of pre-Oscar hype, there was an interesting quote from Steve McQueen, film director of 12 Years a Slave.  McQueen also stages art exhibitions.

He told The New York Times, “I always see art as poetry and filmmaking as a novel, doing the same thing but differently, one abstract and the other one linear.”

Spoken as a man of literature.

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Christine Ammer, Julene Bair, Evelyn Barish, Joan Barthel, Jeffrey Bennett, Terry Brooks, Alison Leslie Gold, Jane Green, Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis, Nancy Morse, Joyce Ray, Lynne Schwartz, Rena Silverman, and Sue William Silverman. Titles under the jump.

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Bulletin Board

This week’s batch of contests includes a prize for our Minnesota residents, an award for women writers over 40, and more. Deadlines range from March 28-April 1.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is an annual literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace. The Prize invites nominations in adult fiction and nonfiction books published within the past year that have led readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view. The winners each receive $10,000. Submissions should focus on a central message of peace, broadly defined as increasing understanding between and among people. Entry fee: $100. Deadline: March 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

The Glimmer Train Family Matters Prize is now open for submissions. Stories can be about families of all configurations. Entries must be fiction (though they can draw on real life experiences) and should not exceed 12,000 words. The winner will receive $1,500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue. Second place will receive $500 (or, if accepted for publication, $700 and 10 copies). Third place will receive $300 (or, if accepted for publication, $700 and 10 copies). Entry fee: $15 per entry; no more than 3 entries per person. Deadline: March 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.

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Along Publishers Row

by Campbell Geeslin

Blanche Jennings Thompson was the editor of Silver Pennies (1925), a collection of poems for children. In the preface, she wrote, “If a poem is worthy at all, it isn’t tough—it is frail and exquisite, a mood, a moment of sudden understanding, a cobweb which falls apart at a clumsy touch.”

More quotes about poetry appeared in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review:  “Writing poetry is an unnatural act,” Elizabeth Bishop once wrote. “It takes skill to make it seem natural.” John Keats wrote in an 1818 letter, “If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.”

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New Books by Members

This week’s recent and upcoming books by our members include titles by Alex Berenson, John Brockman, John Browne, Beverly Donofrio and Barbara McClintock, Mary Cronk Farrell, Erin Fry, Alice Hoffman, Mike Offit, Wendy Pfeffer, Susan Goldman Rubin, Lachlan Smith, Wesley Stace, Natalie Standiford, and Neil Swidey. Titles under the jump.

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