Some authors are used to being famous. At readings, the big guns—Joan Didion, Philip Roth and even Anderson Cooper—are mobbed, with fans happily standing in bookstore aisles when all the seats are filled. Authors have their own awards, attended by the literary ruling class and various marketing experts. But as showbiz extravaganzas go, book awards were more like high tea than the celebrity blowouts—Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys—Americans are accustomed to.

The way authors and books were seen changed last year when the Quill Awards, the first televised awards show for books, made its debut on NBC. Even authors from small presses, like actors in an independent movie—think Amy Adams, who rode a wave of critical support last year to win a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Junebug—had the chance to shine. In a star-studded ceremony at Manhattan's Chelsea Piers, the book world got what it has long deserved—its own Oscars.

The Quill Awards, voted by consumers and booksellers, celebrates the best the book industry has to offer. In more than a dozen categories, the Quills Nominating Council, comprised of leaders from the worlds of film, television, education, publishing and bookselling, selects the shortlists of nominees from among 175,000 titles that are later listed on Publishers Weekly'sWeb site. Readers can vote for the books they love online or at participating bookstores.

Like the Oscars, the Quills aim to generate sales for books, much in the way that the marketing departments at various film companies trot out Oscar nominations—or, better yet, awards won—to drive filmgoers into theaters. When a film cleans up at the Oscars, the box office follows suit. And since Hollywood relies so much on books for inspiration and for prestige films, it's time the book industry realized the potential of making books as celebrated as possible.

Quills hosts Al Roker, Jane Hanson and Brian Williams did just that. Roker and Hanson spoke with celebs like actor Matthew Modine and Court TV anchor Catherine Crier about their favorite books before the show began. (For the record, Modine's was The Old Man and the Sea, and Crier's nonsurprising choice was To Kill a Mockingbird.) Producers lined up an attractive array of famous presenters, everyone from Dave Barry and Elmo to sexy chef Rocco Di Spirito and MSNBC's "Money Honey," Maria Bartiromo.

The show got off to a rousing start—Comedy Central's Jon Stewart said that the Quills captured "the glamour of the book industry and the gravitas of an award show." The first presenter of the evening was the witty and warm actress Kim Cattrall, who parlayed her fame on Sex and the City into a bestselling advice book on—what else?—lovemaking. Cattrall gave the Debut Author award to Elizabeth Kostova for her first novel, The Historian. The literary juggernaut dominated bestseller lists last summer and Kostova couldn't help but boast that her novel had been translated into 35 languages. (Next time someone tells you first novels don't sell, toss that figure in their face.)

In a taped cutaway, Cattrall spoke eloquently about the difference between reading books and watching movies. "There are so many things that you can put into a book that you can't put into a movie because it's all inside the author's head," she said. "You get to know what it's like to be human, which really excites me."

One of the most entertaining portions of the Quills was a clip package in which Hanson interviewed a handful of sixth-graders about Harry Potter. (J.K. Rowling accepted two awards that night by videotape, for Best Children's Book and Book of the Year for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.) The influence of the young wizard on this generation was succinctly summed up by one student, who observed, "Harry Potter turned a lot of kids on to reading and if it wasn't invented, kids wouldn't be as intelligent." Yet another student predicted a dire future for Harry. "I think he's going to die in the seventh book," he said.

Bestselling author Deepak Chopra, who won in the religion category, gave one of the most gracious acceptance speeches of the night. Chopra thanked Oprah Winfrey for introducing him to American audiences in 1993. Forty-five books later, Chopra explained (in a separate video segment filmed at the Chopra Center in San Diego) that he writes all the time. For example, he said, the author took advantage of a long flight between Singapore and Melbourne, Australia, to write one of his best-known works, The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success.

This year, the Quill Awards is moving on up—uptown to a new venue: the American Museum of Natural History's Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Dramatic, to say the least. The ceremony will be held on October 10 and NBC Universal will broadcast the show two weeks later, on October 21. To keep the show fresh, some new categories have been added (see sidebar). And of course, NBC's Al Roker will be along for the festivities.

2005 Winners
Book of the Year

Harry Potter and theHalf-Blood Prince
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré (illustrator)
Scholastic/Arthur Levine

Debut Author ofthe Year l

The Historian
Elizabeth Kostova
Little, Brown & Co.

Audio Book

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
Jon Stewart and the Writers of The Daily Show
Time Warner Audio Books

Children'sIllustrated Book

Runny Babbit:A Billy Sook
Shel Silverstein
HarperCollins Children's Books

Children's Chapter Book/Middle Grade

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré (illustrator)
Scholastic/Arthur Levine

Young Adult/Teen

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood
Ann Brashares
Delacorte Press

General Fiction

The Mermaid Chair
Sue Monk Kidd
Viking Press

Graphic Novel

Marvel 1602 Volume I
Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove
Marvel Comics


Eleven on Top
Janet Evanovich
St. Martin's Press


Let America Be America Again: And Other Poems
Langston Hughes
Vintage Books


44 Cranberry Point
Debbie Macomber
Mira Books

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

The Stupidest Angel:A Heartwarming Taleof Christmas Terror
Christopher Moore
William Morrow & Co.


Peace Is the Way:Bringing War andViolence to an End
Deepak Chopra


Chronicles: Volume One
Bob Dylan
Simon & Schuster


Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
William Morrow & Co.


Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals
Rachael Ray
Clarkson Potter


He's Just Not ThatIntoYou
Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo
Simon Spotlight Entertainment

History/Current Events/Politics

David McCullough
Simon & Schuster


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
Jon Stewart and the Writers of The Daily Show
Warner Books


Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season
Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King

On Books into Film

This year, the Quills adds a new category to its awards roster: Books into Film. The board couldn't have picked a better and more important year to honor such adaptations. During the eligibility period, several important and successful films based on books or short stories were released in the United States and went on to win prestigious film awards and gross millions of dollars at the box office.

Chief among these releases is the Focus Features phenomenon Brokeback Mountain. Based on an Annie Proulx short story that was first published in the New Yorkerand later collected in CloseRange: Wyoming Stories, Brokeback was a remarkably faithful adaptation of a singular work. In the hands of Ang Lee, who won the Oscar for Best Director, Brokebackbecame the date movie of the year. Grossing over $82 million at the box office, it swept the year-end awards mania (all, of course, except for the American Oscar for Best Picture). As Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal gave superb, career-defining performances, and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, who also co-produced the film, won the Best Screenplay Oscar. Brokeback was proof of the power of literature to get people into the movie theaters again, even for the most unconventional story possible.

The most anticipated big-screen adaptation of a novel was the May release of The Da Vinci Code. Starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, this Da Vinci was lavishly filmed in several, European locations, and directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind). Although many critics felt that the screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, who won an Oscar himself for his Beautiful Mindscript, did not capture the page-turning excitement of the phenomenal Dan Brown bestseller, and that Hanks, in particularly, was woefully miscast, The Da Vinci Code will go down as the one of the highest grossing films of 2007, grossing over $200 million in the U.S. alone.

Another highly successful, if more familiar, adaptation was Capote, the Bennett Miller film based on a portion of the hugely successful Capote biography by Gerald Clarke. The film tells the story of how Truman Capote, then a young writer who was also the toast of the New York literati, came across the Kansas murder story that would inspire him to write In Cold Blood. Working from a screenplay by actor

Dan Futterman (Judging Amy), Miller kept his mise-en-scène (and budget) to a bare minimum but was still able to evoke power from a story that the many people who had read the Capote masterwork already knew. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's uncanny performance as the pre—talk show fixture Tru won him many awards, including the Oscar for Best Actor.

Hollywood producers ventured beyond the intrigue of The Da Vinci Codeand the highbrow appeal of Brokeback Mountain for some other noteworthy feature films last year. After years of changing directors and drafts of screenplays, Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha was made into a film by Chicago director Rob Marshall. Featuring rising international star Ziyi Zhang, the movie was lovingly photographed on a California set that was a reconstruction of a Japanese village. While some critics thought the film was dramatically lackluster, the technical members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thought Geisha was superb and gave it the Oscar for Best Cinematography.

A huge and increasingly important portion of the moviegoing public—children—were served, too, by films based on books during the eligibility period. From C.S. Lewis, we had The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which was produced by Walden Media and made only after Lewis's estate felt comfortable that the essence of the classic work would be preserved.

On a more entertaining note, the second Harry Potter book—Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—was released as a film in theaters in the winter. In the end, Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has already taken over the book world, may rule the movie realm as well.