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Quills honor best in books

NBC to air kudofest in the fall

NEW YORK — The inaugural presentation of national book prizes the Quill Awards will air on NBC’s 14 owned-and-operated TV stations this October.

A national panel of booksellers and librarians selected from Publishers Weekly subscribers will make initial noms, then open the process to the public through voting online and in bookstores.

Publishers Weekly and Variety are owned by Reed Business Information, which is launching the awards with the NBC Universal TV station group.

“There are no consumer-driven awards that acknowledge the power and importance of the written word,” said Jay Ireland, prexy of the NBC U stations. “We are proud of the role the NBC Universal (stations) … will play in (creating) a destination television event that celebrates reading and promotes literacy.”

The annual Quills will honor winners in more than 15 categories including book, rookie, book club award, children’s book, book to film, graphic novel, design, literary fiction, suspense/mystery or thriller, science fiction/fantasy or horror, romance, biography/memoir, religion/spirituality, and science.

The nominating board will be formed by the end of February and the book selection process will start May 1.

The online consumer voting system will be featured on all of the NBC station Web sites in the weeks leading up to the awards ceremony.

Event will benefit the new nonprofit Quills Literacy Foundation. The foundation’s executive council, including HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman and Parade publisher Randy Siegel, will direct funding to literacy-based initiatives.

Gerry Byrne, former publisher of Variety and Daily Variety, designed the program and will supervise the Quill Awards and serve as chairman of the foundation, which he founded.

“With the Quills, we will create excitement among consumers, bring well-deserved recognition to writers, energize and invigorate the marketplace and, most importantly, interest more people in buying and reading books,” said Byrne.

Bill McGorry, publisher of Publishers Weekly, said RBI’s interest in the awards program originated some time ago in an effort to spur book sales. “A healthy publishing industry is good for everyone — writers, publishers, booksellers and, of course, readers,” he said.