Archive for April, 2012

(Photo © Sigrid Estrada.)

Carole DeSanti, a WNBA-NYC member and a panelist on the upcoming Historical Fiction Panel, is Vice President, Editor at Large at Viking Penguin. She is known for championing original voices in women’s fiction, including Dorothy Allison, Melissa Bank, Terry McMillan, Ruth Ozeki, Marisha Pessl and Deborah Harkness. Her debut novel, The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R., was published in March 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It has been described as “an unflinching portrait of love and loss against a landscape of Parisian decadence,” and “magnificent in scope and achievement.”

Ms. DeSanti wrote a piece for the March 30th issue of Shelf Awareness, in which she describes some of the research she did for her novel. An excerpt of her piece is below.

Pesky Distinctions
By Carole DeSanti

“Strauss-Kahn Charged in French Prostitution Probe” read a recent headline, marking a new stage in the months-long investigation into organized sex parties in Paris, Vienna and Washington, D.C. allegedly involving French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Henri Leclerc caused a stir late last year by stating, “People are not always clothed at these parties. I challenge you to tell the difference between a nude prostitute and a classy lady in the nude.”

This has long been a dilemma, I found, while researching The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R. However, during France’s Second Empire, under the Regulation System, the problem was much more easily resolved…

To see the full piece, visit Shelf Awareness here.

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By Hannah Bennett

Each year, the Pulitzer Prize is awarded to notable works in the fields of journalism, photography, literature, and musical composition. But this year, the most notable aspect of the Pulitzer Prize Board’s final decision was the announcement that two categories would have no winner – Editorial Writing and Fiction.  For the first time in 35 years, to the consternation of publishing professionals and book lovers everywhere, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was not awarded.

Announced on Monday at Columbia University, the Prizes honored amazing photographers, reporters, poets, and others, but failed to choose a fiction author for the prestigious award.  The nominees this year were unusual, leading some to believe that a fiction winner wasn’t chosen because the nominees were deemed unsuitable.  The three nominees were Denis Johnson for Train Dreams, a book that was originally published as a novella, Karen Russell for Swamplandia!, the writer’s debut novel, and David Foster Wallace for The Pale King, who died before completing the book (which was later completed by his editor).  Whether a winner wasn’t chosen because the board could not reach a consensus or because none of the nominees were found worthy, the end result was an uproar from the publishing community, which counts on the Prize to help promote and sell their literary fiction.

The New York Times published several excellent pieces on the literary community’s reaction to the Pulitzer announcement.  The first, an article by Julie Bosman entitled “Publishing Is Cranky Over Snub by Pulitzers,” outlined the controversy in detail.  The second, an op-ed piece by writer Ann Patchett entitled “And the Winner Isn’t…,” discussed her personal views about the decision as a writer, reader, and bookseller.

What do you think about the decision not to award a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction?  Which books deserved the honor, in your opinion?

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Why is now the best time to join the NYC Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA-NYC)? Because new memberships received over the next few months will extend through August 2013! If that’s not enough of a reason, our Membership Chairperson, Rachel Weiss-Feldman, explains all the great benefits below:

If you are a writer, WNBA-NYC offers opportunities to read and get read! You can have your query letter reviewed by literary agents at our annual Query Roulette, entertain members and non-members alike with original prose at Open Mic Night (next one scheduled for May 23), or contribute to our monthly chapter newsletter or daily blog.

If you are a reader, the WNBA initiative, National Reading Group Month/Great Group Reads can introduce you to some of the best books and authors of the year!  National and local chapter events for NRGM are planned every Fall, featuring top authors such as Julie Otsuka, Scott Spencer, and Nayana Currimbhoy. Or get involved with Great Group Reads, an annual booklist selected by a members-only committee.

If you’re an industry professional (or trying to be), WNBA-NYC holds members-only networking functions and houses member profiles in a members-only database to help you connect to others. Our panel events—free for members—offer industry insight into the world of digital/e-publishing, marketing, production, bestselling fiction, and independent book sales, and more. Our social communities on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn offer networking opportunities, as well as promotions for your company, book, or project.

The WNBA-NYC Chapter’s annual year runs from September to August. Members may join all year round, but are up for renewal every August 31. Right now, however, a unique window for membership is open. Those that join between April and August have their membership extended to the following year—a result of up to four additional months!

Join now and take advantage of our upcoming events like The Historical Fiction Panel; Open Mic Night at KGB Bar; the downtown Indie Bookstore Crawl; and a neighborhood lunch at a local NYC restaurant. A full list of programs and events can be found on our website’s WNBA-NYC Program and Event Calendar.

If you’re a lover of books, writing, and publishing, you’ll love us as well! Go to the WNBA-NYC membership page for complete details and how to apply!

If you have questions or need further information, feel free to email Rachel Weiss-Feldman at membership@wnba-nyc.org

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The Moth is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the art of storytelling, and to showcasing the nation’s finest storytellers.  According to the website, The Moth, “is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it.”  Launched in 1997, the Moth hosts live storytelling events in several locations across the country, where storytellers present their tales live and without notes on the theme of the night to sold-out crowds. The stories are then shared through The Moth Radio Hour and The Moth Podcast to listeners who missed the live events.

The next Moth StorySLAM will be held on Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 PM.  The StorySLAM will take place at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe on Crosby Street.  The theme of the night is ‘Armor.’  To buy tickets or learn more about the event, visit The Moth website at themoth.org/events.

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With the April 20th deadline fast approaching, we hope all you members have been thinking of nominations for this year’s WNBA Award. We’ve mentioned some previous winners, and now we want to tell you about them!

Kathi Kamen Goldmark is an author, president of Don’t Quit Your Day Job Records, and a former teacher. She is perhaps most famous for founding and performing with The Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band made of authors Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Stephen King, and more. She won the WNBA Award in 2008. You can read more about her here.

Perri Klass is a pediatrician, writer, and professor. She is also the Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, which is a nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms across the nation. She won the WNBA Award in 2006. You can find out more information about her books here or read about her here.

Nancy Pearl is a former librarian and bookseller, and a current radio and television personality. She is well known for her book recommendations and speaks for her love of books across the country. She won the WNBA Award in 2004. You can read more about her here.

Remember, nomination forms can be downloaded here under the Members Only tab and emailed to nancy.stewart@ingramcontent.com.  Only members can fill out a nomination form, but anyone can be nominated – it doesn’t have to be a member!

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