From the Old to the Nu?
Jewish-newspaper the Forward has had a renaissance as an English-language pub, first under editor Seth Lipsky and then with J.J. Goldberg. Now it's getting into the book biz as well, planning a boutique line of Forward Books with Norton. The series will be handled by Alana Newhouse, the paper's arts and culture editor, on the newspaper side and by Norton senior editor Amy Cherry on the publisher side. The first book will be a collection of photos from the paper's century of work, ranging from the expected (pushcarts and labor rallies on the Lower East Side) to the unusual (1950s Israeli beauty queens). A collection of Forward-related fiction and two other books, subject TBD, will follow.
Newhouse described the book imprint as an extension of the paper's contemporary role: "The mission of the Yiddish Forward was to help Eastern European Jews assimilate in America. The mission of the English Forwardis inverted: to help Americans become connected to Jewish life." The project had a long gestation period and drew interest from a number of houses, sources said. Henry Dunow repped.
Books and the Bookish People Who Book Them
Air America may be a struggling radio network, but a book stalwart is hoping to turn it into a publishing powerhouse. Jonathan Lazear is starting to make the rounds at publishers with an unusual offer: an imprint of as many as six books per year comprising content from Air America Radio and its personalities.
Lazear, who reps some of serious radio's biggest author franchises (e.g., NPR's Terry Gross) said he's aware of the perils of translation. "We'll have to be especially sensitive to how it reads rather than how it sounds." He also stressed that the project won't step on potential books by the individual personalities, from Randi Rhodes to Janeane Garofalo to Al Franken, Lazear's own client. (David Hirshey at Harper last winter bought a book from Garofalo and Sam Seder that is reported to have hit a bump over the role of Franken.) Books will include material derived from on-air programming as well as original work. Danny Goldberg will coordinate on the network's side.
Lazear said the books are in part a reaction to the growth of conservative imprints (though, of course, the conservative imprints are a reaction to liberal publishers). He said he wouldn't rule out places like Crown or Penguin, which have those right-leaning lines: "We wouldn't close the door on anyone who was aggressive about working with us."
The summer of politics, redux? Yes, judging by what sources say is a deal for Weekly Standard editor/Times mag writer Chris Caldwell with Doubleday Broadway's Bill Thomas, via Tina Bennett. Timely is an understatement—it's about Muslim immigration into Europe and how it's changing that continent's way of life. Tentative title is Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.... The segue's too good, even for a deal that's been out for a few days, not to include Arianna Huffington here. Newish Little, Brown exec editor Tracy Behar has bought the columnist and activist's book, described as a "straight-to-the-point manifesto for women on how to be bold," for pub in 2006. Her last book, about political strategy for Dems, came from Miramax in 2004.... Morrow's Carolyn Marino continues the trend of trying to turn public figures into author franchises; she's re-upped with federal prosecutor—cum—thriller writer Michele Martinez for two more, via Meg Ruley.