The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation and the Friends of Carla Gray committee have announced the launch of a new scholarship designed to help one emerging bookseller learn more about the trade and to reinforce the relationship between their store and the community.
The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists is a year-long professional development scholarship intended to help a bookseller with fewer than five years of bookselling experience establish long-term relationships with other booksellers, publishers, and authors, and to help them engage in community activism to demonstrate the importance of local bookstores.
The scholarship was created by publishing professionals and friends honoring the late Carla Gray, executive marketing director for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who died unexpectedly in June 2017 at the age of 52. The grant includes funds to attend ABA’s Winter Institute 2019 in Albuquerque and one of the 2019 fall regional trade shows, as well as funding to support a community outreach project of their own creation.
Over the past year, Gray’s good friends Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson, and MaryBeth Long created the Friends of Carla Gray committee and worked with members of the book industry to raise funds to establish the inaugural scholarship for bookseller-activists. Their efforts continued with a fundraiser at BookExpo 2018 on Thursday, May 31, held at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in New York City, in honor of Gray’s horse-loving background.
“Carla’s career ranged across many aspects of our industry,” the committee said. “But in every incarnation, she was devoted to getting the right book into the ideal reader’s hands. She was also endlessly optimistic about the publishing community and wanted to see it grow in interesting ways. She knew it was up to individuals to keep the books at the center of the work and to take care of each other personally and professionally.”
According to the committee, the winner of the grant will ideally use it to further the connection between their bookstore and their community. According to the committee, the grant is “to help emerging booksellers find early opportunities to build a network in the industry,” as well as to “help them create innovative, long-term projects that remind readers how central their stores are to the towns and cities they serve.”
“We’re hopeful that this scholarship will be able to supplement the extraordinary peer mentoring and community outreach that’s already a hallmark of the bookstore ethos,” the committee said, “and that it will encourage new booksellers to step forward and share their talents and vision.”
Binc Executive Director Pamela French said the foundation is excited to participate in the effort to connect a new bookseller with opportunities within the industry.
“This is a truly unique year-long opportunity that will help forge our next generation of bookseller-activists. We are grateful for all the people who made this possible,” said French. “We were especially thrilled to work with the Friends of Carla Gray; their passion for the book industry and Carla’s legacy should be commended.”
Applications will open on July 9, 2018, and run through August 9, 2018. The inaugural review committee will include the founders of Friends of Carla Gray as well as author Justin Torres, Kate Layte from Papercuts JP, Michael Taeckens of Broadside Expert Literary PR, and one representative from the Binc Foundation’s program committee. For information on how to contribute to the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship fund, visit the Binc website.