Special congratulations to Paul Yamazaki, principal buyer at City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, San Francisco, Calif.--and one of our favorite booksellers--who will receive the 2023 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community from the National Book Foundation at the National Book Awards November 15 in New York City.
The Foundation wrote, "Starting out as a part-time clerk at City Lights in 1970, Yamazaki has mentored generations of booksellers, and his collaborative approach to bookselling has elevated countless authors, shaping the United States' literary landscape for over 50 years. [He is] a champion for books, writers, publishers, and independent bookstores."
Fittingly, Yamazaki will be presented with the Literarian Award by another of our favorite booksellers, Mitchell Kaplan, who is the owner of Books & Books in southern Florida and co-founder of the Miami Book Fair. He also served as president of the American Booksellers Association and received the Literarian Award in 2011.
In connection with the announcement, the Los Angeles Times has a long profile of Yamazaki that includes wonderful stories about his background, how he came to join City Lights, his development as a reader and bookseller, and the interesting fact that the first recipient of the Literarian Award, in 2005, was the late Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who co-founded City Lights. "I am really, really honored to follow in his footsteps," Yamazaki told the Times. "City Lights has been my university."