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Avalon, the 'Nation' to Launch Nation Books
Calvin Reid -- 3/27/00

Thunder's Mouth Press, a unit of the Avalon Publishing Group of Publishers Group Inc., and the Nation Institute, a public charity and research entity established by the 135-year-old political journal, announced plans to launch Nation Books, a new imprint that will publish titles on politics, culture and history reflecting the social principles of the Nation magazine.

Neil Ortenberg, publisher of Thunder's Mouth, told PW that the new imprint will publish 10-15 titles a year in hardcover and trade paper, with the first books appearing in the fall of 2000. Ortenberg said that Nation Books will issue a combination of reprints and anthologies in addition to a paperback series focused on controversial current events. The magazine will draw its authors from the journalists that contribute to the Nation magazine.

Acquisition and editorial direction will be overseen by an editorial board consisting of Nation publisher Victor Navasky, editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, Ortenberg, Hamilton Fish and Daniel O'Connor. An advisory board will include authors E.L. Doctorow, Susan Faludi, John Leonard, Eric Foner, Jonathan Kozol and Molly Ivins.

Thunder's Mouth collaborated with the Nation in 1990 to publish its 125th anniversary anthology. Ortenberg told PW that "the Nation is becoming more entrepreneurial and this is an opportunity to extend their reach and brand their identity and their intellectual property." The imprint will also launch a Web site to be located at www.nationbooks.com.

The first titles to be released this fall include I'd Hate Myself in the Morning, a memoir by Ring Lardner Jr., sole survivor of the blacklisted Hollywood 10; The Best of the Nation, writings from the last decade; Cinema Nation: The Best Writing on Film from the Nation (1915- 2000), with essays by Nelson Algren, Susan Sontag and Alexander Cockburn; and Burning All Illusions: Writings from the Nation on Race, with essays by Ishmael Reed, Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin.

The new imprint marks PGI's continuing efforts over the last year to expand its trade book publishing operations under its New York City- based Avalon Publishing Group, which reported $17 million in sales in 1999. APG now includes Thunder's Mouth Press (including Adrenaline Books, an outdoor adventure line, and now Nation Books); personal growth publisher Marlowe & Co.; erotic publisher Blue Moon Books; and general trade publisher Carroll & Graf (which includes mystery line Otto Penzler Books). APG also includes Avalon travel publishing (which includes Moon Handbooks, Foghorn Outdoors, Rick Steves, Road Trip USA, Travel Smart and City Smart) and holds minority stakes in Seal Press, Four Walls Eight Windows, Seven Stories Press and Berrett-K hler.

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