Thursday News: Lambda Literary Awards, ghostwriting the Hardy Boys, self-expression v. high school graduation, and coffee art
Two writers were honored with lifetime achievement awards: Rita Mae Brown, author of “Rubyfruit Jungle,” was presented with the Pioneer Award by Gloria Steinem. Filmmaker and author John Waters, who was given the Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature, dedicated his award to the original owners of the Provincetown Bookstore, where he said he worked for a summer when he was young and received his true education. –Los Angeles Times
Book packagers are a kind of outsourced labor, not unlike factories in China or tech-support centers in Mumbai. They develop new story ideas, recruit and manage freelance writers, and edit the first drafts of series books. Then they deliver manuscripts to the publisher, who rewrite and polish them to produce the final book. “Hiring a book packager is a way of hiring staff without putting them on your payroll,” explains Anne Greenberg, who worked for Simon & Schuster from 1986 to 2002, when Lampton was writing. Greenberg edited hundreds of Nancy Drew mysteries after they came in from book packagers, and suspects she worked on more books in the series (approximately 300) than anyone else. “You have to keep feeding the machine,” she says. . . .
The industry that churns out children’s books has changed surprisingly little in the last century. In 1905, a prolific writer named Edward Stratemeyer founded a network of freelance writers and editors. Though you might expect a writer collective to support writers the way labor unions support laborers, the Stratemeyer Syndicate’s central aim was simply to produce a huge number of books at the lowest possible cost. “Edward Stratemeyer was a genius,” says Greenberg. “He was like an idea machine.” –The Atlantic
ACLU staff attorney Novella Coleman said she’s seen several school districts faced with this question and, “They usually comply because it’s so easy to just let students express themselves in this situation.”
It’s also a matter of Christian Titman’s right to free expression, she said.
“It’s very clear when the government is restricting protected speech it has to actually be based on a rational basis and it can’t just assume what the government finds distasteful is going to be disruptive,” she said.
In a letter sent in late May by the ACLU, California Indian Legal Services and the Native American Rights Fund to Clovis Unified, the legal groups argue federal policy recognizes the significance of eagle feathers to many Native American tribes and that state education code protects students’ right to religious expression. –Fresno Bee & Yahoo News