Frankfurt Book Fair
Simon & Schuster joined HarperCollins and others in announcing that it, too, will not attend the Frankfurt Book Fair this year: “After careful consideration, and with the health and safety of our employees and industry colleagues foremost in mind, Simon & Schuster has decided that it will not attend the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. We applaud the FBF’s efforts to develop digital programs, and while we will not have a physical presence, our publishers, rights and sales groups are very much looking forward to using other means to meet with their with their contacts in the international publishing community.
Similarly, Macmillan US confirmed to PL that they will likewise not attend Frankfurt in person. The company “would consider virtual participation if options were available.” That followed announcements that Holtzbrinck in Germany and Pan Macmillan in the UK will not attend Frankfurt.
Agents Stacey Graham, Kelly Van Zant, and Amanda Rutter resigned from St. Paul’s-based Red Sofa Literary, after owner Dawn Frederick posted on Twitter on May 28 about calling the police during a protest. The tweet, which has since been deleted along with the entire account, said, “The gas station at the END OF MY BLOCK is officially getting looted. Calling the police right now to let them know as someone will need to board up this place.”
Graham posted on Twitter: “I resigned as an agent of Red Sofa Literary today. This was not a decision I made lightly but due to recent events, I felt I could not stay with the agency any longer. Thank you to my authors for their support and I look forward to our next chapter.” Van Zant wrote, “This was a painful decision, but a simple one. My commitment to justice for all Black people does not stop when it becomes personally painful or professionally difficult.” Rutter posted, “I could not, in all good conscience, call myself an ally and not react in this way to what I perceive as racism. I want to thank my authors for being incredibly understanding.” Authors such as Barb Curtis, Abby Jimenez, M.G. Velasco, and more have left the agency with their agents.
Frederick wrote in a statement on her website on May 29 that she called the police to inform them that rioters had broken into a gas station “so that the owner can get this station boarded up immediately. NO other info was provided. That’s the extent of info that was provided.” In a subsequent statement on her website on May 30, Frederick apologized, stating, “The consequences of calling the police, for any reason, during this time frankly didn’t occur to me, and I’m sorry that it took this situation for me to see it.” She added, “The authors and agents who may now question whether or not we share the same ideals have every right to feel this way… Thank you for holding me accountable and teaching me, even though it’s not your responsibility to do so. I will work to be better.”
In the UK, Amanda Johnson has been promoted to director of the Costa Book Awards. She succeeds Bud McLintock, who stepped down from the role in February after 25 years.
Mark Damazer has been named the new chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, succeeding Helena Kennedy. He was formerly BBC Radio 4 controller. He will serve a maximum term of six years.
Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s, a Minneapolis bookstore specializing in mystery and science fiction, burned down on Friday evening after protests about the death of George Floyd turned into riots. They ask on the store’s website that no crowdfunding campaigns be implemented at this time: “There are a lot of complex issues involved in any possible rebuilding of the store, including insurance, city ordinances, and business requirements for newly constructed buildings (as opposed to existing structures). Until [owner Don Blyly] has definite information about all these things, he will not be making any decisions regarding rebuilding.”
The Lambda Literary Awards announced winners in a number of categories, with Jane Wagner receiving the Visionary Award; Jericho Brown the Trustee Award, and Brian Lam the Publishing Professional Award. Full list of winners here.