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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Roxana Robinson is the author of five novels: Cost, Sweetwater, This Is My Daughter, Summer Light, and Sparta; three collections of short stories, A Glimpse of Scarlet, Asking for Love, and A Perfect Stranger; and a biography, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. Four of these were named New York Times Notable Books, and Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Cost was named one of the five best novels of 2008 by The Washington Post. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Daedalus, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Vogue, Travel & Leisure, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the Nona Balakian Award for Excellence in Reviewing from the NBCC. Ms. Robinson has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has taught creative writing at the University of Houston, Wesleyan University, The New School, and Hunter College in New York City. She has served on the Authors Guild Council since 2005.

Judy Blume’s twenty-eight titles range from picture books to bestselling novels, including Wifey, Smart Women, and Summer Sisters. She is perhaps best known for her books for young readers, among them Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Tiger Eyes, and Forever. Her Fudge series began with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and includes five books. Her books have been translated into thirty-two languages. In 1996 she received the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award for a body of work that has spoken to young adults for more than twenty years. In 2004 she was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She serves on the boards of the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Key West Literary Seminar. She is currently working on a new novel.

Richard Russo is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Straight Man, Bridge of Sighs, Nobody’s Fool, and Empire Falls, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Russo is also the author of the short story collection The Whore’s Child and Other Stories and, most recently, a memoir, Elsewhere. He writes frequently for film and television (including two adaptations of his own novels). He and his wife live in Portland, Maine.

James Shapiro has taught English literature at Columbia University since 1985. He is the author of Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare, Shakespeare and the Jews, Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World’s Most Famous Passion Play, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, which was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best non-fiction book published in Britain, and Contested Will, which was awarded the Theater Library Association’s George Freedley Memorial Award. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, The Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Financial Times. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He serves on the Board of Governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library and works with a number of theater companies, including Theatre for a New Audience and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

CJ Lyons is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels and a former pediatric ER doctor. She has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly). Ms. Lyons has taught numerous live and online workshops as well as given keynote speeches to audiences around the world, including at the London Book Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the MWA, and the RWA, among others. She was also the conference chairperson for the inaugural ITW ThrillerFest. Her novels have won the International Thriller Writers’ prestigious Thriller Award, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Golden Gateway, Readers’ Choice Award, the RT Seal of Excellence, and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

 

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