Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
In the land of SIBA
Blog Home All Blogs

2018 Conroy Legacy Award Winner: Kwame Alexander

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Friday, September 15, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2017

2018 Conroy Legacy Award Winner: Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander(Columbia, SC) Kwame Alexander, the Virginia-based poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author, has been selected as the first recipient of the Conroy Legacy Award.

Created in honor of the example set by the beloved Southern author Pat Conroy, the Conroy Legacy Award was established in 2017 to recognize writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community, demonstrating support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general, writing that focuses significantly on their home place, and support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

"I met Pat once," said Alexander on being informed of his selection, "He was witty, connected, caring, and a brilliant storyteller–as much in person as he was on the page. He was all the things a writer should want to be. All the things I've wanted to be. I am filled with wonderment and humbled deeply to be honored in his remembrance."

Kwame Alexander was chosen to be the first Conroy Legacy Award winner by a jury of Southern independent booksellers. Alexander is the author of 24 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages and believes poetry can change the world.

"Kwame Alexander is at the forefront when it comes to mentoring the next generation of writers, not just in the US but worldwide," says Hillary Barrineau, of Hooray 4 Books in Alexandria, Virginia. "He won a Newbery Award [2015], which means not only The Crossover but also many of his other 23 books [essays, collections, poetry, and novels] are in every school and library in the US. Notably, they are set in Virginia, where he was born and raised, but clearly resonate with readers everywhere."

"When he visits schools across the country," she continued, "he makes a point of coordinating when possible with the local indie bookstores to provide the books at his events. The year he won the Newbery, he attended our bookstore's "Grand Expansion Party," driving here directly from his daughter's wedding earlier that day." 

Alexander also spearheads the Page to Stage Writing Workshop, which has created more than 3,000 student authors in nearly 70 schools in the US, Canada, and Caribbean, and he recently led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they built and stocked a library and trained 300 teachers to promote literacy in that country.
"We are thrilled to have Kwame Alexander as our first Conroy Legacy Award recipient," said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. "He is exactly the kind of writer the award seeks to honor. Our booksellers love his books, his support of independent bookstores is well known, his commitment to his own community and to fostering a love of writing and literature–especially among young people–is legendary. I think Pat Conroy would be very pleased."

Both a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and a donation to a literary entity close to the heart of the writer will be made in the name of the Legacy Award recipient.

Some Books by Kwame Alexander
Solo (2017)
Booked (2016)
Surf's Up (2016)
The Crossover: A Novel (2014)
Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Honor, NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, Passaic Poetry Prize
He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2010)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
An American Poem (2008)
Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
Crush: Love Poems (2007)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)

 

Tags:  conroy legacy award  kwame alexander 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Updated schedule for SIBA in the Springtime, and a very important letter from the President of the ABA

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, February 20, 2017

Hello, dearest and most beloved booksellers.

We have some updates on SIBA in the Springtime, and a very, very important letter from ABA President Betsy Burton that we ask you to take a moment to read.

Highlights:

  1. New items have been added to the SIBA in the Springtime schedule. Click here to register.
  2. ABA President Betsy Burton has a very imporant letter you need to read.
  3. The Conroy Legacy Award is seeking nominations.
  4. It's also time to nominate the Spring Okra Picks
  5. Check your account. (Your username is: @@username@@)

SIBA IN THE SPRINGTIME

We have added a meet up event to the schedule! On Monday 3/6 after the Okra Dinner at 9:30 pm, Indies Forward is hosting a meet up at the hotel bar. Indies Forward is a group dedicated to growing leadership in the bookselling community by uniting young bookselling professionals. The future of your stores may well be in the hands of these folks, so please come by!

We also now have the details of the ABA educational sessions available:

Bookstores  - An Inclusive Place for Dialogue and Discovery

In the current environment, customers are increasingly coming to bookstores for connection and communication, as well as for sources of a diverse range of voices and viewpoints. 

At the upcoming ABA Spring Forum in Atlanta, GA, in response to member bookstore feedback and requests, ABA will be hosting a conversation led by ABA Board Member Jamie Fiocco where booksellers will share ideas and brainstorm about how bookstores can foster communication and create opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds to express and respond to differing views in the welcoming setting of a bookstore. 

This will not be a traditional education session. It is designed to be an interactive discussion, where booksellers will be able to participate in open communication and problem solving -- in both large and small groups -- to clarify strategies for strengthening the unique role that bookstores play in their communities. 

Online Event Registration

and don't forget, if you can't come, we still want to hear your ideas: Click here to share your great ideas!

SIBA in the Springtime 

Writing the future of the SIBA Discovery Show

Open to everyone with a vested interest in the show:
booksellers, exhibitors, publishers, sales reps
$99 (meals included), Free for core member bookstores

March 6-7, 2017
The Crowne Plaza - Airport in Atlanta

Reservations: Call 866/750-3365, use Group Code SIB
Room Rate: $119 + 7% state sales tax.
Online hotel reservations

ROOM RATE CUT OFF DATE IS 2/17/2017

Online Event Registration

 


A LETTER FROM ABA PRESIDENT BETSY BURTON

Dear Booksellers,

Betsy BurtonMy heart is full — as is, I’m sure, the heart of anyone who attended Winter Institute 12. Already pumped by a day visiting bookstores and by a charged and joyous opening reception, we were split wide open at breakfast on the first official day by the keynote address of Roxane Gay — a verbal fusillade of home truths (if you’ll forgive the dumb metaphor) that brought into sharp focus the issue of diversity. Not that we hadn’t been aware of it, talked about it, and taken action before, both on our ABA board and regionally, creating scholarships and making Booksellers Advisory Council (BAC) appointments, talking to publishers, and making plans to help and encourage the creation of new stores. But it hasn’t been enough — not nearly — as Gay pointed out so candidly, her words shocking us out of complacency and into the need for action. A perfect example of the radical candor that Wi12’s third keynote speaker, Kim Scott, discussed two days later.

During the Town Hall, as “we the board” sat on the dais and listened (and really heard), watched (and really saw) a series of impassioned, articulate, brave, visionary women — many from the new generation of booksellers — get up, one after another, the separation between us diminished and I thought my heart would break — not out of sadness but because I remembered myself at that age, how it felt to be excluded (albeit for reasons of sex and religion — or lack thereof — rather than color), felt again that anger, and knew that once harnessed it was going to hone their aim, amp up their power, catapult them — and all of us — into being our/their best selves, creating a better world in the process. And I was suddenly filled to overflowing with admiration for them, as they spoke one by one, and also, suddenly, with hope for the future. Not just their future but that of our industry when they take it in their capable hands, that of the world because there are people like them outside our industry as well as inside it, something we need to remember in this darkest of times. And they will take our world into their hands, lead the way forward in good directions. Of that I am certain.

It is a process, entering the world of governance — in ABA or any other sphere — but because the board heard what we heard, saw what we saw, we responded by creating a Diversity Task Force to give voice to booksellers’ concerns and draw them into ABA in a significant way and by increasing the number of members on the BAC with the express aim of creating a more diverse council. And please, anyone interested in serving on either, or in recommending someone to do so, e-mail me or call me at (801) 792-8363.

This might not feel like enough but it’s a strong start, especially because the BAC (along with regional boards) is where most nominations for ABA board members come from, since service on the BAC is a way to understand how the association works, how the book industry works, what issues we’ve faced in the past, and what decisions have been made to address them — along with the reasons for those decisions. All of which gives context to the role of governance and the governance process itself inside ABA.

Speaking of inside ABA, my heart broke yet again on my last night at Wi12 when I was privileged to witness during the ABA staff party another moving and life-changing event — the changing of the guard as Mark Nichols, a man beloved by everyone, was heralded by his colleagues. We all know Mark to be a quiet but brilliant, discerning and knowledgeable, kind and caring man who was involved in ABA seemingly forever and in every conceivable way. As I listened to his colleagues honor him, say goodbye to him, watched the sincerity that broke voices, brought on tears, knowing how hard they had all just worked putting on this miracle of an institute, how hard they work year after year to keep the wheels of technology and commerce, information and education turning ever faster, with the connection and love necessary to make it all work as brilliantly as it does, I saw Mark’s role at the heart of it all and I was again filled to overflowing. By their words, yes, but even more by his as this ever-wise, always valiant, loving, caring man expressed his utter faith in all of them. In their ability to help us keep our world in order, keep the wheels turning as another page turned over in ABA’s life and in ours.

Between these profound and unforgettable bookends, there was the rest of Wi12, three full days, four for those who took advantage of Friday’s bookstore tours and special workshops. Days filled with education targeted at our newest members and those more experienced, some about business, others involving the book itself. As I watched the presenters and authors at the Indies Introduce talk proceed with a wonderful program before an appreciative audience that numbered in the hundreds, I remembered that first Winter Institute, and again grew teary thinking of what ABA had wrought over the ensuing years, growing, with the help of hundreds of booksellers and scores of publishers, a small idea into a partnership that benefits us all — authors, publishers, booksellers, readers, and the books themselves — just as they had done again and again in program after program. I attended the marvelous Backlist Book Swap and the backlist panel that showcased innovative ideas and underlined our board’s conviction that a rich, new backlist program could be of vast benefit to publishers and booksellers alike, again benefiting this entire industry. I listened to sessions on finances and technology, localism, merchandizing, management; I heard keynotes and rep picks, talked to publishers during focus groups — as we all did, learning in the process how to be our best professional selves.

Day by day my optimism grew along with my pride at being a part of all this: Part of a dedicated, visionary board while the equally amazing BAC was also hard at work, not to mention the inspired and dedicated ABA staff, who bend their collective will and expend their amazing energy on our behalf. All of that and all of you. It seems to me there’s nothing we can’t do. As we sat there at the Town Hall, sometimes angry but always respectful, always visionary in the best sense, as, panel by panel, audience by audience, we mulled, made sense of, found useful nuggets of knowledge or technique or truth, our voices pooling and coming together… We are an amazing group of people: booksellers, ABA staff, publishers, authors, all fashioning a life around books. I can’t imagine a better one.

Betsy Burton
President, American Booksellers Association
The King’s English Bookshop
Salt Lake City, Utah

 


Southern Book PrizeTHE CONROY LEGACY AWARD SEEKS NOMINATIONS

New this year is the "lifetime achievement" category, the Conroy Legacy Award. The Conroy Legacy Award recognizes writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community. Recipients will have shown the following attributes:

  1. They support independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general.
  2. Their writing focuses significantly on their own home place.
  3. They support other writers in their community, especially new and emerging authors.

The Conroy Legacy Award is given to one writer in SIBA territory annually. A juried panel of member booksellers will choose among our Southern writers to determine the year’s winner.

Nominate an author here


Booksellers Benefits packageSPRING OKRA PICK NOMINATIONS DUE 3/1

March 1st is the deadline for the 2017 Spring Okra Pick Nominations. Nominations are being taken for books that pub between April 1 and June 30. Click here to nominate

Tags:  conroy legacy award  okra picks  siba in the springtime 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Community Search
Sign In
Login with LinkedIn
OR
Sign In securely
Calendar

10/17/2017 » 10/23/2017
Circle of Sites: The Guitarist

10/24/2017 » 10/30/2017
Circle of Sites: The Stolen Marriage

10/31/2017 » 11/6/2017
Circle of Sites: Strange Lies