Wednesday, January 26, 2005

from PW Newsline for Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Peacock Network to Air New Book Ceremony

A new national book award that aims to honor authors and promote literacy and sales has been created by Reed Business Information (parent company of PW) in partnership with NBC Universal Television Stations, which will air the event.

Called the Quill Awards, it will feature presentations in more than 15 categories as well as name winners chosen by the public. Awards will be presented at an October ceremony in New York.

NBC has agreed to carry the Quills ceremony on at least its 14 owned-and-operated stations that includes outlets in most major markets. Jay Ireland, president of NBC Stations, said NBC sees the Quills as a "destination television event" that will promote reading and literacy. In conjunction with the launch of the Quills, RBI has formed the not-for-profit The Quills Literacy Foundation which will receive proceeds from the event.

Gerry Byrne, former publisher of Variety, was the driving force behind the creation of the Quills, which he will supervise; he'll also serve as chairman of the foundation. Byrne said his goal in creating the Quills "was to create an event in which the public can get involved." He noted that the Quills is not intended to compete with other book awards, but rather to occupy a niche where readers could have a role in choosing their favorite authors.

The awards ceremony has wide support from the publishing industry, including HarperCollins president Jane Friedman, who sits on The Quills executive council, the board that will act as an adviser for the event. Other Council members have been drawn from the world of publishing, education, finance, media and entertainment. Also backing the new event is the AAP, whose president, Pat Schroeder, commented, "Publishers and authors are thrilled that Quills will bring added consumer attention to the wide variety of outstanding books that are available, and placing more books into the hands of readers helps overall literacy and the health of the book business. "

The slate of nominees will be chosen by an academy of approximately 6,000 booksellers and librarians who are PW subscribers and who will be selected by the end of February. The panel will choose five nominees in each category by May 1, with voting by the consumer public, both online and in participating bookstores, set for August. Borders and independent booksellers are among the places were voting will take place, and NBC is creating a Web site where the public will be able to vote online.

Among the Quill categories are Book of the Year; Rookie of the Year; Children's Book of the Year; and Graphic Novel of the Year. More information about The Quills and the foundation can be found at NBC's web site

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