Annysa Polanco has been promoted to director, diversity, equity & inclusion at Penguin Random House. In the coming year, the company will add “more fully-dedicated positions” in diversity, equity & inclusions roles across the divisions, including a new “board-level DE&I leadership position” that will report directly to PRH US ceo Madeline McIntosh. Polanco will report to that new executive once the role is filled.
Michael DeFazio had been promoted to vice president & executive director, production planning, analytics, and paper purchasing, Penguin Random House.
Production outfit The Mazur Kaplan Company — run by bookseller Mitchell Kaplan and producer Paula Mazur — has a first-look development deal with SK Global, focused on expanding into television. As part of the deal, the two announced five projects in development, including:
Ros Anderson’s forthcoming debut novel The Hierarchies (Dutton); Brad Meltzer’s The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President–and Why It Failed, co-written with Josh Mensch (Flatiron); Nicholas Griffin’s The Year of Dangerous Days (37 Ink); Tananarive Due’s forthcoming novel The Reformatory; and Tim Johnston’s The Current (Algonquin).
Grand Central Publishing is launching GCP Balance, led by Nana K. Twumasi, who joins the company on December 1 as vice president and publisher. Twumasi was previously with Callisto Media. The imprint will launch in 2022 with a list of 24 books a year “across the wide spectrum from health/wellness to business/success, including psychology, self-help, diet, how-to, inspiration, work/life, management, and leadership,” and promises “a digital-forward, consumer-focused mindset.” Grand Central publisher Ben Sevier says in the announcement, “At this pivotal moment on our planet, where the intersection of our work lives, our home lives, and our health and wellness have become so deeply intertwined, I can’t imagine a more critical mission for a publisher. Neither can I imagine a publishing professional better suited to the task of building and leading the GCP Balance team than Nana K. Twumasi.”
Atria Books is launching Black Privilege Publishing, led by radio presenter, television personality, and author Charlamagne Tha God. The imprint will focus on “opening new doors in the publishing marketplace by amplifying Black and brown narratives, rethinking traditional approaches to the industry, and engaging with the audiences Charlamagne knows best: Cutting-edge, connected, and culturally aware.” The line will be operated by Atria editor Nicholas Ciani and publisher Libby McGuire. Charlamagne Tha God was represented by Nena Madonia Oshman and Jan Miller at Dupree Miller Associates. The first title will be Women’s March co-founder Tamika D. Mallory’s debut, STATE OF EMERGENCY, publishing in May 2021, “a searing indictment of America’s historical, deadly, and continuing assault on Black lives.”
Phoenix International Publications is launching Sequoia Kids Media, a “new imprint targeting the school and library market.” The imprint will release more than 30 titles in spring of 2021, including THIS BOOK IS UPSIDE DOWN; THE MASK THAT LOVED TO COUNT; and LOOK AND FIND MARVEL SPIDER-MAN.
Manga publisher Tokyopop will move their English-language trade distribution to Independent Publishers Group (IPG) on January 1. They will continue to use Diamond Comics for distribution to comic book retailers.
The National Book Awards are streaming online tonight, beginning at 7 PM. Note that the organization continues to seek donations to support their programs and make up the shortfall from not selling tickets to a live event.
Gabriel Bump Everywhere You Don’t Belong won the $15,000 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
A group of over 120 founding authors has launched BingeBooks.com, a community site to foster sampling and discovery of fiction. Self-published romance author Alessandra Torre is ceo and co-founder; self-published thriller author and tech entrepreneur J.D. Lasica is chief experience officer and co-founder.
Their staff includes a number of veterans: Former PGW executive Eric Kettunen is director of partnerships & sales, with former head of Apple Books Rob McDonald serving as vp of business development, and Matthew Jockers (co-author of The Bestseller Code, co-founder of the Stanford Literary Lab and former iBooks engineer) as chief data scientist. The same group also runs Authors AI, which produces Marlowe — an artificial intelligence-driven “smart, fiction-savvy bot” created by Jockers that analyzes and critiques manuscripts along 12 different dimensions, to strengthen the pacing, narrative arc, story beats, language, and more. A future iteration of the AI “will be able to recommend great books to readers based on a large database of novels that include great reads that perhaps never received the public acclaim they deserved.”