Online Workshop

BIO Workshop: Agents Discuss the State of the Publishing Industry

You can see a video of this workshop here.

Three agents discuss the state of the publishing industry during the pandemic, particularly for biography and related nonfiction, as well as the agent-author relationship.

  • Faith Childs is President of Faith Childs Literary Agency in New York and represents novelists and nonfiction writers, including biographers, historians, critics and journalists. For three decades she has been actively engaged in efforts to increase the representation of people of color in the publishing industry. In the decade before becoming a literary agent, she was a lawyer. Among her authors are: Eric K. Washington, Annette Gordon-Reed, Anne C. Bailey, Elizabeth Alexander, and Kerri K. Greenidge.
  • Katherine Flynn is a partner at Kneerim & Williams (https://kwlit.com/) in Boston and represents history, biography, politics, current affairs, narrative nonfiction, and more. She is on the board of the Boston Book Festival and her authors include Heath Lee, Tom Sancton, and Christopher Klein.
  • Gail Ross is President of the Ross Yoon Agency (https://www.rossyoon.com/) in Washington, D.C. and represents a variety of serious commercial nonfiction, including biography, history, and memoirs. She says that each of her new projects must meet two criteria: it must make her daughters proud and offset their college educations. Her authors include Kai Bird, E. J. Dionne, and Lynne Olson.
  • Anne Boyd Rioux will moderate the discussion. She is on the BIO Board of Directors and is the author of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters and Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist.

REGISTRATION: The workshop requires pre-registration and is free and open to the public. A recording will be available for BIO members on the BIO website in the Members’ Area. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions once they have registered or during the event via the chat function.

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BIO Workshop: Living Subjects

On Wednesday, June 24, BIO presents “Living on the Edge: Writing Biography of a Living Subject.” 

Kai Bird (author of a forthcoming biography of President Jimmy Carter), David Greenberg (John Lewis), and Will Swift (Joan Baez) will talk about the the craft of writing an authorized or unauthorized life of a living subject. This form of biography requires juggling the skills of a journalist (tracking down key sources and interviewing them) and a historian (doing archival research).

Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and the executive director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY’s Graduate Center in New York City. He is the author of four biographies and a memoir about his childhood in the Middle East.

David Greenberg is a professor of history at Rutgers University and a fellow this year at the Leon Levy Center for Biography. He is writing a biography of Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights leader, for Simon & Schuster. He is the author or editor of several books on American history and politics including Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image (2003) and Alan Brinkley: A Life in History (2019).

Will Swift, Ph.D., has written three books about presidents and presidential families, but at this grim national moment he wants to focus on the voices of protest over governments that attempt to suppress human rights and individuality. He is currently working on a proposal for a biography of Joan Baez. The working title is Protest Voice: Joan Baez and Her Time. Swift is the author of The Roosevelts and the Royals and The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm. His most recent book, Pat and Dick: The Nixons, An Intimate Portrait of a Marriage, was shortlisted for the BIO Plutarch Award. Will is a founding board member and past president of BIO.

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BIO Workshop: Making Full Use of Fair Use

You can see a video of this workshop here.

This meeting is free and open to all who register. 

Fair use—the right of biographers and other writers, under limited conditions, to quote, paraphrase, summarize, and reproduce the copyrighted words and images of our subjects and others, without paying fees—is embedded in the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Our distinguished panel of experts cuts through the almost universal confusion about fair use to illuminate this necessary and vital tool of our core work.

Panel: Brandon Butler is the director of information policy at the University of Virginia Libraries and was the co-principle investigator on the widely respected Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.

John A. Glusman is the vice president and editor-in-chief of W. W. Norton & Company.

Peter Jaszi is a Professor Emeritus at American University’s Washington College of Law, where he helped to found the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic. He has served as a trustee of the Copyright Society of the USA and as a member of the Librarian of Congress’s Committee on Copyright Registration and Deposit. He is the co-author of the groundbreaking book, Reclaiming Copyright.

Participants are encouraged to read BIO’s statement on fair use and to email their questions ahead of time to Anne Heller.

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BIO Workshop: Promoting Your Book During the Pandemic 

This meeting is free and open to all who register.

May 27, 2020 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Jennifer Richards and Rachel Tarlow Gul from Over the River Public Relations will share what they have learned about how book promotion is changing during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will share their insights and strategies and explain the role of a publicist and how to hire one. Former Random House, Inc. executives, Richards and Gul founded Over the River Public Relations in 2000, and have applied their expertise to nurturing authors’ careers from the beginning, to building greater awareness for established names—whether it’s creating full-scale marketing plans, launching new books, or planning and implementing innovative approaches to keep authors and their work visible in the public eye.

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