Carla Gray Scholarship for Bookseller-Activists Launches


Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship to Cultivate Emerging Bookstore Activists

ANN ARBOR – The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation and the Friends of Carla Gray committee are pleased to announce the launch of a new scholarship designed to help one early-career bookseller learn more about the trade and to reinforce the ties between their store and the community. The scholarship was created thanks to the efforts of a close-knit group of friends and publishing professionals honoring their friend and book industry hero, Carla Gray.

The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists is unlike any other scholarship the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation has ever offered. This year-long professional development scholarship is intended to help a bookseller with fewer than five years of experience connect with other booksellers, publishers, and authors and establish the kind of long-term relationships that keep the book industry thriving. The scholarship includes funds to attend Winter Institute 2019 and one of the 2019 fall regional trade shows. The bookseller will also be granted funding to support a community outreach project of their own creation.

This scholarship would not have been possible without the direction of Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson and MaryBeth Long.  Harlow, Johnson and Long, self-described “friends of the extraordinary Carla Gray,” formed the Friends of Carla Gray committee and, over the past year, worked with supporters across the book industry to raise the funds necessary to establish the scholarship. They are continuing their efforts with a fundraising event timed for Book Expo, on May 31, 2018. Details about the fundraiser can be found here.

“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 readers’ 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.”

One of the things the committee is most passionate about is seeing how the winner will use the grant to further connect a store with its community.

“We want to help emerging booksellers find early opportunities to build a network in the industry, but we also want to help them create innovative, long-term projects that remind readers how central their stores are to the towns and cities they serve,” the committee said. “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. And that it will encourage new booksellers to step forward and share their talents and vision.”

Binc is honored to connect a bookseller new to the industry with the learning opportunities and lasting relationships that Winter Institute and regional trade shows offer, according to the Foundation’s executive director Pamela French.

“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.” she said. “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 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. The first Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship will be awarded in 2019.

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