The Association of American Publishers announced yesterday that Melville House Publishers Dennis Loy Johnson (of late, lamented MobyLives fame) and Valerie Merians are the recipients of this year’s Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing. The award will be presented in New York on March 7, during AAP’s Annual Meeting for Small and Independent Publishers.

On learning they were this year’s award winners, Johnson said that “The Miriam Bass Award recognizes the fact that even in a business as old as making books, innovation and creativity are not only still possible, but vital. We’re thrilled to be chosen to represent that idea, and we’re particularly honored because five years ago, when we told Miriam Bass that we were thinking of doing something as crazy and difficult as starting a publishing company, she was one of the few who said, ‘good idea!’.”