Agents Beth Phelan and Kelly Van Sant and author Isabel Sterling received cease & desist letters from an attorney representing agent Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary after speaking out about Frederick’s response to protestors in St. Paul. On May 28, Frederick posted on Twitter that she had called the police about an incident near her home (the tweet has since been deleted). Subsequently, three agents, including Van Sant resigned from Red Sofa.
Phelan, Van Sant, and Sterling wrote in an open letter that Frederick “demanded that we delete our respective posts regarding Dawn’s actions and further, publish retractions stating that ‘she did not make any racist or other improper statements,’ validating the behaviors that we had previously condemned.” Otherwise, the letter said, Frederick “will pursue legal action against us for defamation.” The three write, “That she is now threatening to sue people for agreeing with her apology makes it impossible to interpret the apology as anything but insincere.” They say that they will not comply: “We want to push back against these intimidation tactics so that we can help foster an environment where we can speak our truth about racist practices and other insidiously problematic behaviors without fear of retribution.” They have launched a legal defense fund to help pay their potential legal expenses.
Last year “preliminary fact-finding” by the European Commission found that “Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information – about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace,” potentially “in breach of EU competition rules.” Now the EC is preparing to fill formal antitrust charges against Amazon, the WSJ reports, “as early as next week or the week after.” The EC “has been circulating a draft of the charge sheet for a couple of months. ”
At Harper UK, Kimberley Young has been promoted to executive publisher for Harper Fiction, still reporting to Kate Elton, who is now managing director of both Harper Fiction and Harper Nonfiction.
Zadie Smith‘s collection of essays INTIMATIONS will be published on July 28 as a trade paperback by Penguin Press. It was “written during the early months of lockdown” and “explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality—or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us?”
Hummingbird Digital Media, which provides an ebook platform for clients including the American Booksellers Association, has been acquired by 360 Media Direct. Hummingbird’s Josh Mettee stays with the unit, as executive vice president.
Academic publisher Intellect has finalized an agreement to acquire HammerOn Press.