New Group to Back Fair Use

The Right to Write Fund, which helped defend Roger Rapoport when he was sued for trying to publish The Harry Potter Lexicon, is raising additional funds to help support other creative artists faced with legal threats or lawsuits. The Right to Write Fund will also establish an educational repository and serve as a clearinghouse focused on fair use and other First Amendment issues confronting authors. Currently, the organization is part of the Center for Ethics in Action, whose president, Anne B. Zill, is also the treasurer for Right to Write. Zill is in the process of having Right to Write receive its own tax-exempt status.

Kingston, Rosset NBA Honorees

Author Maxine Hong Kingston and publisher Barney Rosset will both receive lifetime achievement awards at the upcoming National Book Awards ceremony on November 19. Kingston will receive the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters while Rosset will receive the Literarian Award.

Epicenter in Pact with Tyndale

After scrambling to meet the demand for its Sarah Palin biography, Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down, Epicenter Press has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Tyndale House. Tyndale has gone to press for 350,000 copies of the paperback about the Republican vice-presidential candidate and began shipping the books last week.

Wiley Results Up

Revenue rose 3% at John Wiley in the first quarter ended July 31, to $401.7 million, with net income rising 21%, to $30.2 million. The company's STMS (scientific, technical, medical, scholarly) segment, which now includes Blackwell, had a 6% sales gain in the quarter, with sales up to $240.1 million. Sales in the higher education group also rose 6%, to $59.3 million, while sales in the professional/trade segment fell 3%, to $102.0 million. In the professional/trade segment, the decline was mainly due to a drop in sales in the U.S., which was attributed in part to higher returns and the termination of a publishing agreement in its culinary/hospitality program.

Wiley CEO Will Pesce said the quarter performed close to expectations and the company continues to predict that sales will grow in the mid-single digits for the year.

Groups Press For Libel Tourism Ban

Nineteen organizations involved with free-speech issues sent a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking it to support the Freedom of Speech Protection Act of 2008 (S. 2977). The bill would ban the practice of "libel tourism" by prohibiting foreign libel judgments from being enforced in the U.S. if the speech would be protected by U.S. laws. The bill was introduced after a series of libel judgments were handed down against American authors in foreign courts where speech does not does not have the level of protection it does in the U.S.

Gioia Leaving NEA

Dana Gioia is stepping down as chairman of the NEA. Gioia, a longtime poet and sometime critic, wants to make more for time for his writing. Gioia will be remembered for championing literacy; he helped launch the Big Read and brought major media attention to literacy with critical studies like Reading at Risk.


In last week's 50 Under 40 profile of Brendan Deneen, Lisa Unger was incorrectly cited as Lisa Under.

Obituary: Robert Giroux

A memorial service is being planned for some time later this fall in New York for Robert Giroux, who died Sept. 5 at the age 94. Giroux, who grew up in New Jersey and went to Columbia, worked for the former Harcourt, Brace & Company before joining Farrar, Straus and Company in 1955. In 1964 Farrar, Straus and Company was renamed Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Giroux edited some of the greatest writers of the 20th century including Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Bernard Malamud, T.S. Eliot, Seamus Heaney, Jack Kerouac and Madeleine L'Engle. Giroux also wrote a number of his own books, including The Education of an Editor and A Deed of Death.