Macmillan CEO John Sargent will kick off the New England Independent Booksellers Association’s three-day fall conference on Wednesday, October 3 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence with a keynote address.

“The invitation was extended to John because of his courageous stand on e-book pricing and because of his progressive and unique vision for the future of publishing and bookselling,” says NEIBA executive director Steve Fischer. “He’s a local hero.”

Although Sargent won’t be able to discuss the Department of Justice lawsuit or the electronic books antitrust litigation wending their way through New York District Court, Fischer says that he can speak to the role of e-books and the role of independents.

At the conference, NEIBA will present the 2012 New England Book Awards in fiction to Margot Livesey for The Flight Of Gemma Hardy, in nonfiction to Kate Whouley for Remembering the Music, and in children’s toauthor I. C. Springman and illustrator by Brian Lies for More. This year’s President’s Award will go to Wally Lamb.