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Mark Byrne

‘Work of Art’ Book Cover Kind of Resembles Actual Book Cover

Yesterday we mentioned the recent episode of Bravo’s Work of Art, in which contestants competed to see who could design the best book cover for selections like Frankenstein and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The winner was contestant John, for his futuristic pineapple. But today we’re going to look at the runner up, Nicole, who appears to have created a design for Alice that really could be a book cover–and, in fact, is.

John C. Ford, an author and GalleyCat reader, points us to a book by Heidi Durrow called The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, which shares some key characteristics with Nicole’s entry. Ford explains on his blog: “I’m loathe to speculate too much here, as I have no idea how the Bravo contestant came up with her design, how she executed it, or even when the episode was taped. Yet, at first glance, it would appear that the two designs share significant similarities. The female form in the Alice cover [pictured on the left] is facing the opposite direction, does not appear to have braids, and seems to have her legs positioned differently. But at the conceptual level–a stark, silhouette image of a female form falling in free space–well, they appear nearly identical.”

It’s a stretch, but he’s got a point. Again, there’s simply not enough to call foul play–people use silhouetted girls in art all the time. If she did copy the Durrow book cover, she’s guilty of being lazy. And if she didn’t, then she’s guilty of unoriginality. What’s worse?

‘Work of Art’ Contestant Wins Episode With Re-imagination of Time Machine Cover

pineapple.pngYesterday we mentioned that the challenge for contestants on last night’s episode of Work of Art: The Next Great Artist would be to create cover art for a Penguin book. The issue aired, and contestant John won with a bright, angular interpretation of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.

The winning design is pictured. The contestant described his inspiration as “my reality and gay culture,” which some found touching and others self-centered. In his recap, art critic Jerry Saltz said, “We finally agreed that John’s abstract pink pineapple from the 27th century was the real winner.”

But what do you think, publishing people? Would this sell? Actually, since it’s going to be on the cover of the book, the real question is: Will it?

Hearst and Sterling Publishing Renew Partnership

hearst_logo(1).gifHearst Magazines announced this week that it has renewed its longtime agreement with Sterling Publishing Co. to publish books under the Hearst Books imprint.

The two companies have been working together to publish books spun off from Hearst’s magazine brands for nine years. Among the titles planned for this fall are Good Housekeeping’s Drop 5 Pounds, Cosmo’s 365 Nights of Hot Sex, and Harpers Bazaar’s Fashion. According to the press release, “Past successes include the Cosmo Kama Sutra with 460,000 copies sold,” and cookbooks.

Sterling Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc.

John Steinbeck Archive Sells Poorly

jsteinbeck.jpgJohn Steinbeck: American treasure? Well, we thought so anyway, but then a collection of the writer’s letters, manuscripts and photographs failed to collected even six figures at auction yesterday, less than a third of what was expected.

The AP has notes on the surprisingly depressing auction: “Among the highlights that did not sell was Steinbeck’s acceptance speech for his 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature. It was one of 26 lots — out of 50 — that failed to find a buyer, the auctioneer said.” Seriously folks? Well, what did sell? “Among personal artifacts was Steinbeck’s chair and terrestrial globe, which sold for $1,800, below the $2,000 to $3,000 estimate.”

$1,800! This GalleyCat editor could have put that on his high-interest credit card!

The items, gathered from the writer’s Upper East Side apartment, were expected to fetch $200,000 to $250,000. In the end, they took only $73,950.

‘Work of Art’ Contestants To Design Penguin Cover

work of art.pngThe third episode of the new Bravo reality series, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, will have a literary bent tonight. Contestants will be tasked with designing the cover for a Penguin book.

The twelve remaining artists, who are competing for a $100,000 and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum, will do their best to make a book cover that “captures the spirit of Penguin – classic yet cutting edge,” according to Penguin President Kathyrn Court, in the press release. Several Penguin staffers participated in the episode, and Court herself got to address them.

No word on what the book is, but the winning design will be published tomorrow and available in bookstores. Judge Jerry Saltz has been doing recaps of each episode on, so check in there tomorrow to hear his take. And then check in here to see if we think he’s got a point.

Andrew Phillips Named CEO of Penguin International

p2323.jpgAndrew Phillips, the deputy CEO of Penguin Group’s Dorling Kindersley division, has been named CEO of Penguin International, stepping in to a slot vacated by David Davidar.

Phillips joined DK in 2003. Here is a little more on his background, from the press release: “Prior to joining DK, Andrew spent six years at Electronic Arts, a market leader in entertainment software. Andrew previously held a number of roles at McGraw-Hill and headed up their educational publishing businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.” Davidar, who was based in Toronto and also president of Penguin Canada, resigned earlier this month just before internal sexual harassment charges surfaced against him.

Phillips will be in charge of Penguin’s businesses in India, Africa and the Middle East, and be based in Delhi. He will not be president of Penguin Canada, as Davidar was.

Riverhead Announces Campaign to Support Women and Children in Afghanistan

kahel.jpgRiverhead Trade Paperbacks announced today that it has started a campaign to raise money for The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a new non-profit started by the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Riverhead will use the popularity of Hosseini’s books to raise money for the foundation. Here’s the description of how, from the press release: “The Picture a Book Changing Lives campaign invites people to submit up to two still photos of themselves reading or holding a copy of either The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns. For each eligible photo uploaded to the Hosseini group page of the Penguin Group (USA) website, Riverhead will donate $2.00 (up to a maximum $25,000 donation) to The Khaled Hosseini Foundation.” The donation will go towards shelter and educational opportunities for women and children in Afghanistan. It will also sponsor scholarships for Afghan students who have migrated to the United States.

The campaign runs from June 15 to August 31. People can visit the website to join the “Hosseini” group and upload their photos.

Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman Win Harry Chapin Awards for Book on Hunger

whyhunger.pngWhyHunger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty, announced the winners of its 2009 Harry Chapin Media Awards on Friday.

The awards, named in honor of founder and singer Harry Chapin, are presented by WhyHunger and Mediabistro in the categories of Books, TV/Film, Newspapers, New Media, Periodical, and Photojournalism. They honor excellence in the coverage of hunger and poverty issues. This year’s Books winners are Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman; and Let’s Get Free: A Hip Hop Justice by Paul Butler, which won the Judges’ Award.

Winners and finalists will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on Sept. 28. The full list of winners is after the jump.

Read more

Barnes & Noble Exec moves to iVillage

iVillageLogobnb.jpgWebNewser reports today that Mike Skagerlind, who had been general manager of Barnes & Nobles’ since 2007, has taken a job at, which is owned by NBC Universal.

According to the WebNewser piece, “he will be responsible for strategy, site development, content, product development, and technology, reporting to executive VP Jodi Kahn.”

Prior to joining B&N, Skagerlind had been at Nickelodeon for 12 years. WebNewser has statements from both Skagerlind and Kahn.

Harry Potter Theme Park Opens in Florida

hp.jpgOver at the Guardian, Georgia Brown got an advance look at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new theme park in Univeral’s Isands of Adventure space.

The park (pictured, via) took six years and $200 million to open. How does it look? Here’s Brown, on the scene: “At the entrance to The Wizarding World … visitors are welcomed through a stone arch into Hogsmeade village by a steam-blowing Hogswarts Express train. Before them stretches a scene straight out of the movies: crooked-chimneyed Olde English shops crowd along a winding street, their snow-capped roofs glistening in the Florida sunshine.

The main attraction in the park is the Forbidden Journey ride, wherein guests sit on a magical bench that “drops, spins and twists in time with the on-screen action.” has numerous pictures of the new park; the Guardian has a few more. We gotta admit, Harry Potter lends itself pretty well to the theme park treatment. Are there any other books that could pull this off?