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The Roundup: December 24, 2021

Remembering writer and social critic bell hooks.
Image of bell hooks courtesy of Wikipedia Commons (public domain)

Happy holidays! In this week’s edition, Amazon says it has a new process for handling remainders that’s better for both authors and the environment. We mourn the loss of the incomparable Joan Didion and feminist poet bell hooks. We share the winners of the 2021 Hugo Awards. New Press’ Ellen Alder is named Publishers Weekly’s Person of the Year, and legendary biographer Robert Caro’s archives are now on display at the New York Historical Society.

Joan Didion, ‘New Journalist’ Who Explored Culture and Chaos, Dies at 87
The New York Times
Journalist, novelist, screenwriter, playwright, literary icon, and Authors Guild member Joan Didion had her own distinctive style often imitated, rarely matched.

PW’s Person of the Year: Ellen Adler
Publishers Weekly
Thanks to its publisher Ellen Adler, New Press has been ahead of the publishing curve in a number of important ways, including in finding and publishing future award-winning authors early in their careers and in committing to building a diverse staff and publishing a wide range of voices.

Trailblazing Black Feminist and Social Critic bell hooks Dies at 69
The Washington Post
“bell hooks, whose graceful, probing and wide-ranging books sought to empower people of all races, classes, and genders, anticipating and helping shape ongoing debates about justice and discrimination in the United States, died Dec. 15 at her home in Berea, Ky.”

Is Destroying Overstocked Books Normal?
Book Riot
Amazon says it now has a new process that will keep remaindered books from being pulped, as has long been the industry habit to the detriment of authors, readers, and the environment.

What Happened to Amazon’s Bookstore?
The New York Times
An indie author from Maryland has sued Amazon for not stopping illegal book sales by third-party sellers. Three third-party sellers on Amazon offered copies of the author’s $15 sci-fi novel Hominid for as much as $980. One third-party seller even claimed the book was first published in the 17th-century as that might help justify the price.

2021 Hugo Award Winners Announced at 79th Annual World Science Fiction Conference
The Hugo Awards honor the best in science fiction literature, film, television, and fan fiction. In the literature category, the winners of this year’s awards are Martha Wells’ Network Effect (Best Novel); Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune (Best Novella); Sarah Pinsker’s Two Truths and a Lie (Best Novelette); T. Kingfisher’s “Metal Like Blood in the Dark” (Best Short Story); Martha Wells’ The Murderdot Diaries (Best Series); Damian Duffy’s adaptation (illustrated by John Jennings) of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower (Best Graphic Novel/Comic); T. Kingfisher’s A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking (Lodestar Award for Best Y.A. Book); Emily Tesh (Astounding Award for Best New Writing).

Robert Caro’s Journalism Lessons
The New Republic
Authors Guild Honorary Council Member Robert Caro’s journalism archives are currently on display at the New York Historical Society. Among Caro’s numerous accomplishments, including twice winning the Pulitzer Prize and three National Book Critics Circle Awards, is his book Working, a vivid, candid, deeply revealing work about researching and writing biographies.