CABS-Minnesota Announces Awards for Five Diverse Voices Fellowships

- by Michael Stillman

Left to right, Jaime Harker, Warren Lee, and Katie Mitchell (ABS photos).

CABS-Minnesota and the Antiquarian Book School Foundation (ABSF) recently announced the five awardees of their inaugural cohort of the Diverse Voice Fellowships. The bookselling profession traditionally has not been a particularly diverse field, leading CABS-Minnesota to offer the fellowships to those who may find themselves isolated from the field on account of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and/or income. The fellowships provide a week-long seminar at CABS-Minnesota focused on selling antiquarian and rare books, a two-day field trip to New York City, and various virtual events. Nearly 3,000 people have attended the CABs seminars since they were founded in 1978.


The five new fellows are:


Jaime Harker, the founder of Violet Valley Bookstore. Violet Valley is a “queer, feminist, transinclusive nonprofit bookstore” in the unlikely location of Water Valley, Mississippi. It is the only queer feminist bookstore in the state of Mississippi. Ms. Harker is author of The Lesbian South, and was inspired to open a bookstore while researching for her book. She is also a professor of English and director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi. She looks to continue supporting queer youth in Mississippi.


Nahid Khan was born to South Asian Urdu-speaking Muslin parents. She collects American Muslim books, publications, and print ephemera. She also has gathered material on American news reporting of Muslims, Islamic faith, and other topics and media in relation to the Muslim world, as well as representations of other minority groups. A graduate student, Ms. Khan is looking at ways to make her collections available to others.


Warren Lee is a member of the New York bar and a financial planner. His interest in the field arose when dating his wife who wrote her MBA on independent bookselling. He is a co-founder and owner of 44th & 3rd Bookseller in Atlanta and intends to offer a book service and research tools for rare and collectible Black titles.


Katie Mitchell is the co-owner (along with her mother) of Good Books, an online and pop-up Black bookstore in Atlanta. Ms. Mitchell's mother raised her on Black books and authors, a background that formed her attachment to her books.


Michelle Walton is co-owner of The Collective-Oakland (California), where she was born and raised. She says travel is her therapy and she cannot imagine life without coffee and books.


The fellows were selected from a pool of 30 highly qualified applicants. Director of CABS-Minnesota Lorne Bair said, “We are delighted to welcome this group of talented Fellows to the antiquarian book trade and the CABS-Minnesota community. The selection committee was impressed with the Fellows’ deep knowledge in specialty areas and their passion for learning about antiquarian bookselling.”


This years edition of the CABS-Minnesota seminar will take place from July 10-15 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Registration is now open. CABS-Minnesota is operated by the Antiquarian Book School Foundation, a non-profit educational institution. It offers a week-long intensive seminar for booksellers, prospective booksellers, and others with an interest in the antiquarian and second-hand book market. You can register by following this link: