Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship Announced

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    The new Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists will honor the memory of Carla Gray, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s executive director of marketing, who passed away earlier this year.

    The annual scholarship, to be managed by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), will be given to a single bookseller with fewer than five years of experience who works at a store with less than $500,000 in revenue.

    Gray’s friends Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson, and MaryBeth Long said they created the scholarship fund “[to celebrate] several of Gray’s passions: books, booksellers, fostering young talent, and connecting to each other.” Gray began her career in the book industry working in bookstores, so the scholarship in her name helps encourage new booksellers to connect their professional development with engagement in their local communities.

    The winning bookseller will receive a scholarship for professional development, which includes costs associated with attending a key industry trade show, one of Gray’s favorite things, according to the three organizers. The award will also include a stipend (amount to be determined) to support a community outreach project of the winner’s own devising. The organizers said they plan to refine the range of the scholarship amount once a base fund is established.

    “The bookseller will have the opportunity to connect with booksellers, publishers, and authors and to establish the kind of long-term relationships Carla held dear and that keep this business thriving,” the organizers said. “This scholarship and its recipients will celebrate and honor Carla’s boundless enthusiasm for the books themselves, her delight in pairing the right book with the right reader, and her faith in the bookselling community.

    Gray died unexpectedly at the age of 52 on May 30. She had spent 20 years working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, initially joining the publisher as a telephone sales rep. Prior to publishing, she worked as a bookseller at several different stores around New England, including Reading International in Harvard Square. Gray, who grew up in Washington, Connecticut, and attended Trinity College, lived in Boston. In Gray’s obituary printed in the Boston Globe, HMH Senior Vice President and Publisher Bruce Nichols said, “The world has lost a great champion of the written work, a tireless advocate for authors, and a dear friend of booksellers across the country. HMH has lost a beloved colleague of 20 years. We will miss Carla every day.”

    For questions or to make a gift to the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship fund by phone, call Binc at (866) 733-9064. Donors can also send a check, payable to the Binc Foundation, to 713 W. Ellsworth Rd., Suite A, Ann Arbor, MI 48108 (with “Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship” in the memo line), or visit the Binc website to donate directly to the scholarship fund.