Jim Sitter, the founding executive director of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and a longtime advocate for literary projects, has been named this year's Kay Sexton Award winner. The award goes annually to a person or an organization that has spent years dedicated to books, reading and literary activity in the state. It is named for bookseller Kay Sexton, who died last year.

Sitter attended Macalester College and worked at the former Hungry Mind Bookstore, where he began the Hungry Mind Reading Series.

In 1979, he began Bookslinger, a book distribution company that focused on books published by independent and nonprofit literary presses, such as Minnesota's Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press and New Rivers Press. Sitter is credited with persuading both Allan Kornblum (founder of Coffee House) and Scott Walker (founder of Graywolf) to move to Minnesota.

Sitter has been the executive director of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and a founder of LitNet, a coalition of nonprofit literary organizations across the country. He will be honored on April 16 at the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards gala at the Union Depot in St. Paul.


Will Smith joins Oscars boycott

Will Smith said he will not attend the Academy Awards on Feb. 28, joining his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and others in protest against two straight years of all-white acting nominees. Best supporting actor nominee Mark Ruffalo also said he's considering skipping the ceremony. Smith told ABC's "Good Morning America," "My wife's not going. It would be awkward for me to show up with Charlize [Theron]." Smith, who some thought might be nominated for his performance in "Concussion," said his decision was "deeply not about me." "This is about children that are going to sit down and … not going to see themselves represented," he said. Smith becomes the biggest name to join a boycott following announcements by Spike Lee and Pinkett Smith.

failed: Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal said he and Sean Penn agree on something: Penn's Rolling Stone reporting about Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman failed in its mission. The Golden Globe winner said Penn did not generate discussion about drug criminalization and legalization and wrongly put Guzman further in the limelight. He said Penn should have interviewed "people that are changing things for the better."

Associated Press