Booksellers: Apply for the Draybak Fellowship to WI7

This is cross-posted from Bookselling This Week.

For the second year, Workman Publishing is sponsoring the Joe Drabyak Frontline Fellowship to the Winter Institute. The fellowship was launched last year with a three-year sponsorship from Workman Publishing to honor Joe Drabyak, Chester County Book Company’s master bookseller and a past president of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, who died of cancer in August 2010.  The fellowship provides airfare, lodging, and the meal fee for one bookseller to attend the Winter Institute, which will be held in New Orleans from January 18 – 20, 2012.

Steven Pace, Workman’s director of sales, said that the fellowship would be “awarded to a bookseller who embodies Joe’s unabashed enthusiasm for recommending good books to readers and his contagious ability to help generate overall excitement for the books that he championed.”

Drabyak learned of the fellowship to be created in his honor, three weeks before his death, when Pace and Craig Popelars, the director of marketing for Algonquin Books, went to visit him at his home in suburban Philadelphia. “Joe was incredibly touched that he would, in spirit, continue to be a part of the bookselling community,” said Popelars.

Pace said, “Joe Drabyak was a unique force in bookselling. Everyone wanted to know what Joe was recommending. And, if your book was lucky enough to be named a ‘Joe’s Pick,’ you knew it had received his ‘magic touch’ and would soon appear on Chester County Book Company’s bestseller list. But he was also generous with his time and had boundless energy for teaching the art and craft of bookselling. That legacy is the inspiration for the Frontline Fellowship.”

“Joe Drabyak was an important part of the bookselling community, and we miss him enormously,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “Every time we handsell a book, we’re channeling Joe. He not only taught us a great deal about books and bookselling, he also provided a role model for many of us. We’re proud to have a part in commemorating Joe and his many years of dedication to the book industry through the annual presentation of the Joe Drabyak Frontline Fellowship.”

Booksellers, publishers, and sales representatives are encouraged to nominate booksellers for the fellowship. Nominations should include the following:

  • Bookseller’s full name and complete contact information.
  • Store where the bookseller is employed. Both full-time and part-time booksellers can be nominated.
  • A brief letter of recommendation explaining why the bookseller is being nominated for the fellowship.

Nominations for the Joe Drabyak Frontline Fellowship must be submitted by Friday, November 11, 2011. Nominations should be e-mailed to

The winner, to be chosen by Workman and ABA staff, will be announced in mid-November.

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