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Posts Tagged ‘Ecco’

Amy Tan Inks Deal with HarperCollins

HarperCollins has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to bestselling author Amy Tan‘s (pictured, via) forthcoming novel, The Valley of Amazement.

In the U.S., Ecco publisher Daniel Halpern negotiated with Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency president Sandra Dijkstra. In Canada, Harper Canada publisher Iris Tupholme ironed out a contract with Westwood Creative Artists literary agent John Pearce.

Tan described her book in the release: “A painting called the ‘Valley of Amazement’ is passed along through three generations of women of the same family. Despite vast differences in their upbringing, culture and circumstances, each of the women is drawn to discover the meaning of the painting and the unknown histories of their mothers.”

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MTV’s First Poet Laureate

The New York Times’ Melena Ryzik reports that MtvU, the subsidiary of MTV Networks that is broadcast only on college campuses, will announce today that it has selected its first poet laureate: John Ashbery, the prolific 80-year-old poet and frequent award winner known for his dense, postmodern style and playful language. One of the most celebrated living poets, Ashbery has won MacArthur Foundation and Guggenheim fellowships and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection SELF-PORTRAIT IN A CONVEX MIRROR.

According to Stephen K. Friedman, the general manager of mtvU, which broadcasts at 750 campuses nationwide, was the No. 1 choice to inaugurate the position. “He resonates with college students that we’ve talked with,” said Friedman. And Ashber was immediately receptive. “It seemed like it would be a chance to broaden the audience for poetry.” But will droves of young people respond? “It’s our hope that we will interest college kids in poetry in a new way, make it hip for them,” said Daniel Halpern, the publisher of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins that has published Ashbery’s work. But, Halpern admitted, “it’ss very hard to tell what exactly is going to come of all this.”

New Publishing House for Literature in Translation

In conjunction with its developing literary translation programs, the University of Rochester announced that it is launching Open Letter, a new publishing house dedicated to international literature. The new house will publish twelve works of international literature a year beginning in fall 2008 focusing on modern classics and contemporary works of fiction – the first of which will be Dubravka Ugresic‘s NOBODY’S HOME.

“We are focusing on twentieth- and twenty-first century literature from around the world-cosmopolitan litera­ture, books that stimulate and provoke readers, and which we hope will be read for generations to come,” said director Chad W. Post, co-founder of Reading the World and former Associate Director of Dalkey Archive Press. Post is joined at Open Letter by E.J. Van Lanen, former Assistant Editor at Ecco, and Nathan Furl, former Marketing and Production Director at Dalkey Archive Press

And the NBCC Awards Go To…

While NBCC Board member Rebecca Skloot liveblogged the awards, Ron and I sat through a somewhat speedy ceremony emceed by president John Freeman and highlighted by Mary Gordon‘s glowing retrospective and tribute (accompanied by retro Jill Krementz photography) to Sandrof winner John Leonard, followed by Leonard’s own words, a speech so filled with mirth, self-deprecation and reflections on present and past reviewing that I hope the transcript is made publicly available at some point. Nona Balakian winner Steven G. Kellman was a quote-a-minute, namechecking the gamut from H.L. Mencken (who had unkind words about criticism and even more scathing words about poetry – partly because of a volume he himself had written and then done everything in his power to squelch) to Lily Tomlin (“we’re all in this together – alone,” as applied to book critics, who Kellman quipped “are the only critics who can do their job in their underwear.”)

Then came the awards:

Criticism: Lawrence Weschler, EVERYTHING THAT RISES: A BOOK OF CONVERGENCES (McSweeney’s)
Poetry: Troy Jollimore, TOM THOMSON IN PURGATORY (Margie/Intuit House)
Non-Fiction: Simon Schama, ROUGH CROSSINGS: BRITAIN, SLAVES AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (Ecco)
Biography: Julie Phillips
, JAMES TIPTREE, JR.: THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ALICE B. SHELDON (St. Martin’s Press)
Autobiography: Daniel Mendelsohn, THE LOST (HarperCollins)
Fiction: Kiran Desai, THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS (Atlantic Monthly Press)

It’s an award winner list of some surprise – Jollimore’s win especially surprised the poetry faithful in the audience – and some that might have seemed like a surprise, like Desai, but on further reflection are just about right. Ron’s got more about notable quotes and the afterparty, but I’m especially happy to have chatted with John Leonard about his new prize, his belief that literary blogs are “where the passion is” and finding good books to read that might be off most people’s radar. It doesn’t get much better than that.