Welcome to The Quills and our special "celebration of the written word." This uniquely designed awards program and its accompanying Foundation initiative are being launched with the enthusiastic support of Reed Business Information, parent of Publishers Weekly, the publishing industry's leading and most authoritative business journal.

The Quills has been created as an annual awards program designed to celebrate and honor the most popular and prestigious authors of fiction and nonfiction. From May through July 2005, an invitation-only national board of booksellers and librarians will nominate best selling and critically reviewed authors of English-language titles released in North America between August 1, 2004, and July 31, 2005. And since it is the reader who drives book sales, so, too, it should be the reader who will drive the final voting, voting that will be executed at retail and online. Again, the format: authors and titles are prequalified by the industry then the final arbiters, the book-buying public, will decide on who is the best of the best in crafting the written word. Consumer voting will occur between August 15 and September 15.

On October 11, 2005, the winning authors will be announced and celebrated at The Quill Awards, a black-tie gala to be held at Pier 60 in New York. The newly created Quills Literacy Foundation will be a beneficiary of the event. Then to highlight the importance of what promises to be both an entertaining and engaging evening, on Saturday, October 22, the NBC Universal Stations will carry The Quill Awards as a special one-hour program. Totally committed and supportive, the NBC Universal Stations recognize the power of The Quills and the value of its mandate to build and sustain literacy programs. We are delighted and appreciative for NBC's involvement.

We hope that your enthusiasm to read more will be inspired by The Quills and that you'll support our Foundation as we develop and announce programs that we hope will make a difference in our community.