Wednesday News: To Kill a Mockingbird goes digital, BookCon fails to diversify, “expert” writer fakes credits, and book burning through history
Harper Lee OKs e-book version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ – On Harper Lee’s 88th birthday, her publisher, Harper Collins, announced that To Kill a Mockingbird would be released in digital on July 8, 2014, which is also the 54th anniversary of the book’s original publication. Lee prefers paper books and has resisted digital publication of the book for years now. Although TKAM is Lee’s only professionally published work of fiction, she has remained fiercely protective of her intellectual property rights over it, and has gone to what some might see as extreme lengths to protect her name and brand.
In 2013, the Alabama native sued her hometown of Monroe County Heritage Museum for trademark infringement, saying it was illegally using her fame for its own gain.
“Historical facts belong to the world,” the suit argued “but fiction and trademarks are protected by law.” –CNN
Readers Deserve Better Than BookCon – A couple of weeks ago I reported on ReedPop’s massive failure in diversifying the new Star Wars fan event. And despite other complaints leveled at them, and despite ReedPop’s previous apologies for not paying adequate attention to the diversity of its events, this year’s BookCon line up, for which ReedPop is responsible, once again includes not one person of color. Book Riot’s reaction is below, and not surprisingly, ReedPop did issue yet another public apology, in which they claim diversity is important to them and they will be trying to “fix this” imminently. Yeah, sure.
So what happens now? Book Expo will likely respond with another apology and promise to do better. But it’s too late. The damage is done. “We’re sorry” is no longer acceptable. It is clear that diversity is not a priority for ReedPop and BEA. Either they are not thinking about it at all, or they are actively choosing against diversity because they believe they can make more money with an all-white line-up. These are not our values at Book Riot, and so we will not be supporting, promoting, participating in, covering, or encouraging our community to attend BookCon. We can’t control ReedPop and BEA’s choices, but we can control this. No diversity = no support. –Book Riot
James Strauss and his Fake Writing Credits – So in addition to all the other shady crap that’s floating through the author community, here’s an interesting story: apparently this guy named James Strauss, who claims screenwriting credits for “Deadwood” and “House,” among other television shows and movies. gets invited to major conferences as an expert, when, in fact, he hasn’t actually accumulated the writing credits he claims. And even though his misdeeds are known by some, he’s still getting invited to conferences to speak. Christine Merrill has a blog post up about being on a conference panel with Strauss, as well.
Love is Murder invited James Strauss back again this year to talk about TV writing …even after being alerted by me and the WGA that he was a fraud. But James wisely was a last-minute no-show. The WGA sent him another cease-and-desist letter, and copied the conference. There’s nothing wrong with him teaching screenwriting. What is wrong is claiming credits and experience that he doesn’t have. –Lee Goldberg’s blog
11 Book Burning Stories That Will Break Your Heart – Although yesterday’s story about book banning in Idaho ended on a somewhat triumphant note, censorship via book banning and book burning can have devastating consequences. And in some cases, the people who wrote the works were burned along with their books. –Mental Floss