CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) officially launched Book Club Central with the unveiling of its website and Honorary Chair Sarah Jessica Parker’s inaugural book selection, “No One Is Coming to Save Us,” by Stephanie Powell Watts, published by Ecco/an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Ms. Parker made the announcement during the ALA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition taking place in Chicago at McCormick Place, June 22-27, 2017.
Book Club Central, a brand-new initiative of the ALA, was designed in consultation with expert librarians to provide the public with the very best in reading. The online resource is a one-stop shop for engaging content and helpful information for book clubs and readers of all types, including author interviews, book recommendations and reviews, as well as discussion questions and information on how to start and moderate a book club.
“It is exciting to have the opportunity to share Book Club Central with libraries, librarians, book clubs and readers everywhere,” said Julie Todaro, president of the ALA. “As an online resource, Book Club Central will connect people to a new and engaging world of reading and books. We are grateful to Honorary Chair Sarah Jessica Parker for joining us for the launch of Book Club Central and using her star power to champion books and literacy.”
Ms. Parker stated, “’No One Is Coming to Save Us’ marks the arrival of a wonderfully gifted new American writer. JJ, Ava and Sylvia are easy characters to fall in love with, and Stephanie Powell Watts brings them to life with warmth and generosity. I can't wait to share their story, their search for fulfillment and attempts to better understand their past and shape their future, with readers everywhere, and I'm jealous of all who will open to page one for the first time.”
As honorary chair of ALA Book Club Central, Ms. Parker will provide additional recommended titles throughout the year. Her next pick will be announced in the fall.
On learning “No One Is Coming to Save Us” was selected for ALA Book Club Central, Ms. Powell Watts said, “Since I was a child, I have spent many happy hours in libraries. The library offered me respite, refuge and an opportunity to experience the beauty and complexity of the world and its people. I am particularly thrilled and honored for my book to be selected by Ms. Parker and the ALA.”
“No One Is Coming to Save Us” is an exploration of the American Dream among African Americans in the South. A story about the ghosts of the past and departed, as well as the lives of the living, the novel is a complex, post-integrationist tale that charts new territory. Kirkus Reviews said, “The Great Gatsby is revived in an accomplished debut novel…Watts spins a compelling tale of obsessive love and dashed dreams set in a struggling North Carolina town.” Publishers Weekly wrote, “… [it] hits home—and hard” and “Watts powerfully depicts the struggles many Americans face trying to overcome life’s inevitable disappointments.” Booklist stated, "This feels like an important, largely missing part of our ongoing American story."
Ms. Powell Watts is an associate professor of English at Lehigh University, and has won numerous awards, including a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize and the Southern Women’s Writers Award for Emerging Writer of the Year. She is the author of the short story collection, “We Are Taking Only What We Need.”
Book Club Central Sponsoring Partners are Booklist, the book review magazine of the ALA; United for Libraries, a division of the ALA; and Libraries Transform, the ALA’s public awareness campaign, along with Corporate Platinum Partner Penguin Random House. Other Corporate Partners include NoveList and OverDrive.
Book Club Central can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Ms. Parker recently launched SJP for Hogarth in partnership with Molly Stern, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Crown, Hogarth, Broadway, Crown Archetype, and Three Rivers Press. SJP for Hogarth will selectively publish high-quality works of fiction by both established writers and distinctive emerging voice with critical and commercial promise. In this new role, Ms. Parker will be involved in all aspects of the publication process, from their selection and acquisition to cover design and promotion with her vision providing the editorial foundation for each publication.
About Sarah Jessica Parker: Sarah Jessica Parker is the star and executive producer of “Divorce,” which premiered in October 2016 on HBO and which has been renewed for a second season. She currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the board of directors for the New York City ballet. In November 2009, the Obama administration elected her to be a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Parker lives with her husband, three children, and lots of books in New York City.
About the American Library Association: The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
About Ecco: In 1971 Ecco was spun off from the literary magazine Antaeus (founded in Tangier by Daniel Halpern with Paul Bowles), and it has been an imprint at HarperCollins since 1999. Ecco publishes distinguished fiction and nonfiction by bestselling, prize-winning authors, as well as bold debuts from promising new voices. Among the categories Ecco publishes are novels, short stories, poetry, memoir, science, politics, history, and sociology, as well as lavish contemporary cookbooks. Authors include: Russell Banks, April Bloomfield, Anthony Bourdain, Charles Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, Richard Dawkins, Richard Ford, Jennifer Haigh, Robert Hass, Dennis Lehane Werner Herzog, Czeslaw Milosz, Joyce Carol Oates, Lisa Randall, Ron Rash, Simon Schama, Patti Smith, Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney, and Amy Tan.