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Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Johnson’

Melville House Opens Publishing Company in London

Brooklyn-based publisher Melville House will open a British publishing company in London called Melville House UK.

Founders Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians announced the news, hiring 4th Estate marketing executive Zeljka Marosevic as director of marketing. The company will begin with the publisher’s U.S. books, but should be acquiring new books by the end of the year. Here’s more from Johnson:

Our classics line, The Art of the Novella, has always done well in Britain, but sales of our other U.S. titles have grown explosively there over the last few years, some of the best writing we’ve published lately has been by British writers, such as Lars Iyer and Lee Rourke; we’re winning British book awards, I hear more and more from British booksellers and media about our books … And so rather than simply expand our US company’s operations here, we wanted to form a distinctly British company that would respond more particularly to that kind of welcome. It’s not a branch, nor an office. It’s a distinct, British company.

 

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St. Martin’s Press Defends Lenore Hart Against Plagiarism Charges

St. Martin’s Press defended novelist Lenore Hart against plagiarism charges this week. A blogger who runs a Edgar Allen Poe fan website initially denounced The Raven’s Bride as “a virtual cut-and-paste job” from Cothburn O’Neal‘s 1956 novel, The Very Young Mrs. Poe.

Since then, members of the literary community (including spy novelist Jeremy Duns and Melville House co-publisher Dennis Johnson) have supported the allegations. The New York Times reported on the debate, including a statement from St. Martin’s Press in response to the accusations.

Here’s more from the statement: “Ms. Hart supplied a detailed response, which cited her research into biographical and historical sources, and explained why her novel and Cothburn O’Neal’s The Very Young Mrs. Poe contain certain details of place, description and incident. As Ms. Hart explained in her response, of course two novels about the same historical figure necessarily reliant on the same limited historical record will have similarities.”

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Melville House Adopt-a-Penguin Program Takes Flight

Yesterday on the Morning Media Menu, we interviewed Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson, getting his candid views on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, enhanced eBook content and the publisher’s popular adopt-a-penguin program.

To support the release of Viktor Zolotaryov‘s crime novel, Death and the Penguin, Melville House will adopt a penguin in the name of any bookstore that sells more than 25 copies of the books from the series about a writer who rescues a penguin.

Johnson explained in the interview: “We have several stores that look like they are getting multiple penguins and have their own pod. For example, the Barnes & Noble in Union Square are well over the first 25 books so far, there may be pods of penguins in Union Square soon.”

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Indie Booksellers Choice Awards Winners Unveiled

The winners of the first annual Indie Booksellers Choice Awards have been announced.

The following five books were selected by independent booksellers: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books), The Instructions by Adam Levin (McSweeney’s), The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel (Unbridled), Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (Grove/Atlantic), and Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr (Akashic).

The five winning titles will be displayed in participating independent bookstores throughout the country. Comedian David Rees hosted the awards ceremony at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City.

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Melville House Withdraws from Future Participation in Best Translated Book Awards

Citing the “predatory and thuggish practices” of Amazon, Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson has withdrawn his press from future participation in the Best Translated Book Awards. Last year the independent press won the fiction award for The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven.

UPDATE: Award organizer Chad Post has responded to Melville House.

Last week news broke that Amazon.com will underwrite the Best Translated Book Awards, giving a $25,000 grant to the University of Rochester/Three Percent website to help fund the annual prize. “We must all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately,” explained Johnson in a passionate post about the award. What do you think?

Here’s more from the post: “[I]t’s clear to us that Amazon’s interests, and those of a healthy book culture, whether electronic or not, are antithetical. As most of us here at Melville House have also worked at indie bookstores — including such biggies as Booksoup, Shaman Drum, Brookline Booksmith and others — we feel this especially keenly: Taking money from Amazon is akin to the medical researchers who take money from cigarette companies.” (Via Publishers Lunch)

More Jonathan Franzen & Oprah Winfrey Book Club Rumors

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Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson stoked the rumor mill this week, blogging: “Reliable sources tell me Oprah has selected Franzen’s newest book, Freedom, for her revived book club.”

Earlier this month, we covered speculation that Oprah Winfrey might select Jonathan Franzen‘s Freedom. A few industry experts dismissed Franzen rumors the last time they surfaced, but Johnson has been writing about the publishing industry for a long time–do you think his prediction will come true on September 17 when the true pick is revealed?

In 2001, Franzen famously mentioned that “I considered turning it down” when he was offered a spot on Winfrey’s show and was un-invited from the show. (Via Publishers Weekly)

Melville House and Ugly Duckling Writers Win Best Translated Book Awards

mhbwinner.pngLast night two independent presses won the 2010 Best Translated Book Awards, rising to the top of a shortlist drawn from an impressive collection of publishers.

Gail Hareven won the fiction award for The Confessions of Noa Weber, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu and published by Melville House Press. Elena Fanailova won the poetry award for The Russian Version, translated from the Russian by Genya
Turovskaya
and Stephanie Sandler and published by Ugly Duckling Presse. The complete press release is embedded after the jump.

Here’s more from Melville House Press publisher Dennis Johnson: “[This fiction award] represents what we see as part of our mission at Melville House: Not just to publish both fiction and nonfiction in translation for the sake of essentially preserving it, as if it were something on the verge of going extinct. That strikes us as a way of further ensuring its obscurity. Rather, we see it as our mission to trumpet that work loudly, and to work aggressively to get that work in the hands of as many people as possible, especially those who would not normally encounter translated literature.”

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BEA 2009: Bloggers Speak Out

bealogo.jpgFrom sea to shining sea, the biggest publishing headlines are all about BEA this morning.
Publishers Weekly
rounded up newspaper coverage of the event–from NY Times to LA Times. A crowd of online commentators weighed in as well, including GalleyCat.

Book Club Girl pondered her panel discussion about literary blogs. LitKicks left the convention energized: “Is the book biz in trouble? I just don’t think so, based on the enthusiasm I’ve spent the last three days soaking in.”

Yen Cheong collected nuggets of hope from different publishing panels. Edward Champion got positive. Publisher Dennis Johnson posed the toughest question of all: “BEA is over…for good?” In the comments section, add links to your coverage for a future round-up post.

Party Like It’s 1975

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BEA week is like a business convention, county fair, prom, and class reunion all rolled into one for the publishing world. Like a business journalist, high school reporter, small town newspaper, and nerdy kid from high school all rolled into one, GalleyCat covered a few pre-BEA parties last night.

The night began the Melville House, Small Beer Press, The Feminist Press, NYRB Classics and Little Bookroom, and Stop Smiling Books party in Brooklyn. Melville’s publisher Dennis Johnson worked the bar all night, as agents, artists, writers, and journalists mingled on the raining evening.

GalleyCat concluded the night at the Overlook Press’ “Party Like It’s 1975″ party for Allan Tannenbaum‘s “New York in the 70s” photography collection. Gorgeous black and white photos covered the walls, and literati were packed elbow-to-elbow at the popular party. In the photo above, Details writer Ian Daly, Village People cowboy Randy Jones, Overlook’s Vida Engstrand, and GalleyCat senior editor Ron Hogan attempted to spell “YMCA” for posterity.