Binc Announces Winners of Scholarship for Book and Comic People Who Write

ANN ARBOR, MI – Five booksellers in stores from San Francisco to Boston have been selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship that provides the aspiring writer-booksellers with the financial support to focus on a full-length manuscript. The Susan Kamil Scholarship for Emerging Writers was established by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and bestselling author Charles Duhigg and wife, Liz Alter, a professor of biology at California State University Monterey Bay. The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation administers the scholarship.

The scholarship is named for Kamil, who was executive vice president and publisher of Random House when she died in 2019. Her publishing career, spanning more than 40 years, began in the 1970s working in the children’s book division of Macmillan Publishers. Over those years she was known for recognizing new literary voices and introducing them to the public.

“These five writers – and all the applicants – show why booksellers are so important: they share new stories, build communities and, ultimately, keep our democracies strong,” said Duhigg. “I know Susan would have loved these books and would have loved supporting writers bringing more beauty and truth into the world.”

The recipients are:

Nicole Brinkley is the manager of Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY, where she has won multiple awards for her work as a “legendary bookseller” ( She reviews books professionally for BookPage and Shelf Awareness. You can find her online at The genre of her submitted manuscript is science fiction.

Rachel Dillon is the Book Events and Programming Manager at Beacon Hill Books & Café in Boston, MA, and a graduate of the Boston University MFA program in poetry. She was a finalist for the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize and the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition. Her writing can be found in Asheville Poetry Review, The Adroit Journal, Broadsided Press, Solstice Literary Magazine, and elsewhere via her website. Her manuscript in progress is a poetry collection exploring the history and landscape of Gloucester, MA.

Brendan McHugh is a San Francisco based writer and oral historian documenting the history of San Francisco’s response to the AIDS crisis. He is a bookseller at Green Apple Books on the Park in San Francisco. He’s written on this and other topics for Brokeass Stuart, KQED,, Catapult, and others. He was a 2023-2024 Brown-Handler Writing Resident with Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. He describes his manuscript as hybrid.

Liv Morris has been hawking stories at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, MA, since 2019. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature and an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University and was a 2022 Lambda Literary Fellow. She grew up in Kentucky and now lives in Boston with her wife, cats (Bo and Pawl Simon), and dog (Diana Wynne Bones). Her manuscript is for middle grade readers.

Joanna Roddy is a writer, audiobook narrator, and proud indie bookseller at Roundabout Books in Bend, OR. She loves reading and writing about magic or murder–especially both. She is currently working on a YA contemporary dark fantasy about four girls who discover witchcraft to oppose the abuse rampant at their conservative religious high school. Joanna hopes to create stories that shed light on religious trauma, empower feminist awareness, and inspire young people to follow what and who they love with freedom and joy.

Any writer working on a full-length manuscript, graphic novel, or comic who is currently employed at a physical book or comic store in the U.S. and has been for a minimum of three months was eligible to apply.

“So many aspiring writer-booksellers – more than 250 – applied for this incredibly generous and life changing scholarship that Binc increased the number of judges on the selection panel from four to seven,” said Binc Executive Director Pam French. “We are grateful for them, Charles and Liz, and all the talented book and comic people we expect to be reading in the coming years.”



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