BookPeople Marketing Director Jeremy Ellis, who, despite the title, is less a money-grubbing suit than a book lover with considerable taste-making power, has announced that he'll be leaving the store to continue his education, which he neglected like a bad little boy when he was 18. "I was storming around saying that I didn't need a piece of paper to tell me I could be successful," he says. "I've proved my point. So, I'm headed to ACC and then on to UT to go after my B.A. ... I'm going to study design." Ellis, 30, has been a driving force behind BookPeople's renown as a touring-author destination, as well as its aggressively independent identity and spirit. Brash, blunt, effective, and funny, he has been both friend and foil during the past few years, and it's to Austin's great relief that not only will he be staying in town, he'll be working closely with local businesses as part of his planned "agency to supply customized marketing solutions." That's Jeremy-talk for cool catalogs and offbeat ad campaigns. While an Ellis successor has not been tabbed stay tuned for the next couple of weeks Events Coordinator Erin Kelly has thus far filled his remarkably stylish shoes in attracting literary names big and small to Sixth and Lamar, while Co-op Advertising Manager Julie Wilson keeps the BookPeople brand steady and strong. "I don't know how to say it without being corny, but I am so honored and happy to have been a part of BookPeople and helping to 'Keep Austin Weird,'" Ellis says. "I owe [founder and owner] Steve Bercu a debt of gratitude for giving me the chance. It's hard for me to think about leaving a place that has been so supportive of me and the work that I have done. But the future I imagine is filled with some really amazing possibilities."
At BookPeople next week, Wednesday, July 14, 7pm, is Bret Anthony Johnston, with his devastating debut collection of short stories, Corpus Christi (Random House, $23.95), in tow. See Litera listings, p.70, for more.
The Austin Public Library's Spicewood Springs branch is closed for "approximately four months" for parking-lot renovation and driveway reconstruction, while the planned facility expansion has been postponed until 2006. The APL encourages North dwellers who frequent the Spicewood branch to try the Milwood (12500 Amherst), North Village (2139 W. Anderson Ln.), or Old Quarry (7051 Village Center) branches on for size.