Billie Swift, John Marshall & Christine Deavel
2017 Prowda Award Winners
Poets, partners, and co-owners John Marshall and Christine Deavel opened Open Books in 1987 as a general interest bookstore with a large poetry selection. When they made the move to Open Books’ current location on North 45th Street in Wallingford, they reopened the store as a poetry-only independent bookseller. In early March 2016, Marshall and Deavel announced their intentions to retire and sell the store. Billie Swift, a fellow poet, and a devoted store patron since 2009, offered to purchase the store and became its new owner on September 1, 2016. Swift has continued Marshall and Deavel’s incredible legacy, adding a few touches of her own including an increased presence on social media, and bringing back events at the store.
“We are so proud to get to celebrate Karen Maeda Allman and Open Books this year as our 2017 Prowda Literary Campions. Both Karen and Open Books have extraordinary histories of passionate advocacy on behalf of readers and writers, and we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on their outstanding work,” said Ruth Dickey, SAL Executive Director.