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Literary Prize Created in Honor of Politics & Prose Founder

Family and friends of the late Carla Cohen, the co-founder of Washington, D.C.’s Politics & Prose, have established the Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize, the Washington Post reported this week. The first winners of the prize are Anthony Marra for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth) and David Finkel for Thank You for Your Service (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG).

The $5,000 prize will be awarded annually to a fiction and a nonfiction writer. Judges for this year’s fiction prize included store co-founder Barbara Meade, buyer Mark LaFramboise, and novelist Howard Norman. Washington Post reporter Rick Atkinson, public radio producer Darcy Bacon, and President and CEO of America’s Promise John Gomperts were the nonfiction judges.

Cohen’s husband, David Cohen, said of the winners, “Anthony Marra and David Finkel have an uncommon understanding and feel of courage and building lives under continuing adversity. I can see Carla thrusting Marra’s and Finkel’s books into customers’ hands and telling them and me, ‘You just have to read these books.’ Who says there’s no future for serious books that dig deeply.”

BEA to Expand Independent Author Programming

BookExpo America is introducing the Author Hub, a program running in tandem with the uPublishU conference at BEA, to bring attention to independent and self-published authors.

“uPublishU at BEA has been a huge success for us, and we have established a premiere conference for the entrepreneurial author who has become a vital part of the publishing marketplace,” said Steve Rosato, BEA’s show manager. “The addition of the Author Hub to our program will connect this community to mainstream publishing, providing access to promotion and discovery that was previously unavailable to this universe.”

The Author Hub, located on the show floor, will be open throughout the convention and will serve as a forum for authors to meet with one another and with industry professionals. It will also include a space for BEA attendees to meet featured independent authors, including Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Hugh Howey, CJ Lyons, and H.M. Ward. uPublishU will feature more than 30 speakers and 25 exhibitors this year, and programming, to be held on Saturday, May 31, will include sessions for both beginning and experienced authors.

Colorado’s “Amazon Tax” Law Blocked By Judge

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Denver District Court Judge Morris Hoffman has temporarily blocked a 2010 law that encouraged online retailers to collect sales tax from state residents.

The Direct Marketing Association requested the injunction, saying that the law is unconstitutional and an unfair burden on online retailers. The law requires businesses that do not collect sales tax to submit extensive reports and notifications, including purchase and sales reports, to consumers and the Revenue Department. With the block, the state cannot enforce the law.

The DMA called upon the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which states that “state laws may not discriminate against or burden interstate commerce.” The state’s Revenue Department argued that the clause “was intended to foster an open national market, not ... to shield retailers doing substantial business within a state from reasonable state laws.”

The law was also deemed unconstitutional in 2012 by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn, but his ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court.