BTW News Briefs

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ABFFE and Pen American Center Host Paradise Banned

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the PEN American Center are hosting an evening of poetry readings to celebrate Banned Books Week on September 30, 2013.

Censored poems from authors Allen Ginsberg, Walt Whitman, Frank O’Hara, and more will be read by contemporary poets including Alex Dimitrov, Ana Bozicevic, Monica Ferrell, and others.

The event is being held at Housing Works Bookstore Café at 126 Crosby Street in New York City at 7:00 p.m. RSVPs are welcome on the Paradise Banned event Facebook page, and donations will be collected for Housing Works’ mission to end homelessness and AIDS.

Additionally, individuals and organizations that have been advocates for the freedom to read are being honored by Banned Books Week sponsors as Heroes of Banned Books Week. The list of “freadom fighters” includes several students who have fought against the censorship of books in their schools this year.

Writers Receive MacArthur Fellowships

The 2013 MacArthur Fellows have been announced. The no-strings-attached fellowships are presented to creative individuals in a variety of fields that have shown extraordinary determination and originality in their work. This year’s fellows include the following writers:  

  • Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove (2013); Swamplandia! (2011); and St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006), all published by Knopf.
  • Donald Antrim, author of The Afterlife: A Memoir (FSG, 2007); The Verificationist (Knopf, 2000); The Hundred Brothers (Crown, 1997); and Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World (Viking, 1993).

The fellows are each awarded a $625,000 stipend as an investment toward their future accomplishments.

Georgetown’s Harborwalk Books Destroyed by Fire

A fire that consumed eight buildings on Georgetown, South Carolina’s historic Front Street also claimed Harborwalk Books on Wednesday, reported The State. Six to seven businesses were deemed total losses and many apartments above the businesses were also destroyed, but no injuries were reported.

Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire in the buildings, none of which had sprinkler systems. More than 100 firefighters worked on Wednesday morning to secure the blaze, and the U.S. Coast Guard helped pump water from the harbor to assist the firefighters.

The Coastal S.C. Chapter of the American Red Cross is providing food to those affected by the fire, and counselors are on staff to provide assistance. Financial donations to the Red Cross are welcomed.

PayPal Offers Small Business Loans

PayPal is partnering with Salt Lake City WebBank to roll out PayPal Working Capital, a simple, no-interest bank loan that collects a flat fee on borrowed funds, reported Businessweek. The option will be available to 90,000 of PayPal’s merchants from now until the end of the year.

Participating businesses can borrow eight percent of their annual PayPal revenue (up to $20,000), on which PayPal will determine the loan fee. PayPal will take 10 to 30 percent of the retailer’s daily PayPal receipts (collecting no funds on days when the retailer does not receive PayPal payments) until the fee is recouped.

Anti-Tax Groups Support Amazon’s Appeal to Supreme Court

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline reports that two anti-tax groups, the Tax Foundation and the National Taxpayers Union, have filed a “friend of the court” brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up an appeal filed by and in response to a 2008 court case that ruled valid the New York State Internet sales tax law.

The law allows New York State to collect sales tax from out-of-state companies that have online affiliates in the state. The anti-tax groups argue that the state’s Internet sales tax law hinders interstate commerce.