Recipients Announced for 2019 Bookselling Without Borders Fellowships

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Fourteen U.S. booksellers will receive fellowships from Bookselling Without Borders (BWB) to visit one of four international book fairs and two international residencies over the coming year. 

BWB logoWith these scholarships, Bookselling Without Borders aims to connect booksellers to the global literary conversation and through them to widen Americans’ perspectives of diverse and international literature.

The 2019 recipients are:

Bologna Children’s Book Fair (April 2019):

  • Melissa Posten, The Novel Neighbor, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Clarissa Hadge, Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Sarah Hedrick, Iconoclast Books & Gifts, Hailey, Idaho

Istanbul Book Fair (April 2019):

  • Rebekah Rine, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kansas
  • Amanda Qassar, Warwick’s, La Jolla, California
  • Natasha Gilmore, Idlewild Books, New York, New York

Turin Book Fair (May 2019):

  • Cristina Rodriguez, Deep Vellum Books, Dallas, Texas
  • Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Virginia
  • Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

Frankfurt Book Fair (October 2019):

  • Jonathan Woollen, Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.
  • Lesley Rains, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Chris McDonald, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vermont (Winner of the Frankfurt Book Fair U.S. Bookseller Prize, funded by the German Foreign Office)

India Seagull Books Residency (January 2020 in India):

  • Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colorado

Rome Otherwise Bookstore Residency (July/August 2019 in Rome, Italy)

  • John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Connecticut

Founded by Europa Editions in 2016, these scholarships enable U.S. booksellers to take part in a program of specially designed tours, panel discussions, and meetings with international authors, publishers, and booksellers. The program had expanded this year to include the Istanbul Book Fair, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and a residency in India that includes the Jaipur Lit Fest and Delhi Book Fair.

More than 200 booksellers applied for the 2019 scholarships in just two weeks, representing 145 bookstores in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Winners were chosen by the program’s supporting publisher partners and Bookselling Without Borders. As would be expected, the booksellers who won expressed tremendous gratitude for the chance to attend a major international book fair.

“The BWB fellowship plays such a vital role in helping teach booksellers to challenge how they read and sell international literature, while creating a dialogue about how to make diversity in literature more accessible,” said Cristina Rodriguez, who will attend the 2019 Turin Book Fair in May. “It’s such an amazing opportunity and I feel honored to get to be part of it.”

Said Natasha Gilmore, who will attend the Istanbul Book Fair in April, “My bookstore’s mission is to blur our borders and I am looking forward to meeting people from around the world to discover new ways to do this for my customers. Merhaba, Istanbul!”

Jonathan Woollen, who will attend the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, said, “As someone who builds his life as a reader and bookseller around finding and promoting the best writing voices from around the world, this is a dream come true.”

Bookselling Without Borders is an initiative of the following independent publishers: Catapult, Counterpoint, Europa Editions, Graywolf Press, Grove Atlantic, Melville House, Milkweed Editions, Other Press, Princeton University Press, Rutgers University Press, Seagull Books, Seven Stories Press, Soft Skull, Shambhala Publications, and The University of Chicago Press. Bookselling Without Borders is also generously supported by Ingram Content Group, the German Foreign Office, Shelf Awareness, and participating book fairs.

For more details about Bookselling Without Borders, e-mail BWB Program Coordinator Anna Thorn at [email protected] or call (202) 386-0804. For further information about the program, visit the Bookselling Without Borders website.