One of the most gratifying aspects of giving small presses a shout-out is that so many of them have a strong sense of purpose. Whether it’s becoming a B Corporation, or providing us with passports to international crime fiction, or building a community around works about identity, or helping to put more Asian and Pacific Island diaspora literature on the shelves, or simply reminding us of the beauty of handmade books, small presses bring us a step closer to the dream bookstore.
Okay, so maybe America today isn’t exactly the Soviet Union of the samizdat era, but it’s true that new or unusual voices aren’t always heard above the cacophony of popular or mainstream culture. Enter the small presses, to add a few grace notes to the monolithic drone.
Today’s shout-out recipient is no exception.
The New Press “publishes books that promote and enrich public discussion and understanding of the issues vital to our democracy and to a more equitable world.”
And just what are these vital issues?
I’m going to let their website’s topic list speak for itself:
- African American
- Asian American
- Criminal Justice/Law
- Current Affairs
- For Parents
- Gender Studies
- Human Rights
- Labor Studies
- Latin America
- Middle East
- Political Science
- U.S. History
- World History/WWII
Awesome. They publish Pete Seeger! They expand on their mission statement on their website:
Underlying The Press’s editorial program are three aims: to broaden the audience for serious intellectual work, especially by reaching out to audiences intellectually red-lined by commercial publishers; to bring out the work of traditionally underrepresented voices; and to address the problems of a society in transition, highlighting attempts at reform and innovation in a wide range of fields.
Intellectually red-lined! What a great phrase. I’ve never felt so excluded and immediately included at the same time.
This is the kind of press that traffics heavily in subtitles, which I’ve highlighted here:
- Blocked on Webo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter (and Why)
- The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ
- The New Black: What Has Changed – and What Has Not – with Race in America
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
- The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability
- Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers, and Rebels
- Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency
- “Multiplication Is for White People”: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children
The New Press has been around since 1990 and brings out around 50 titles per year. And while many of our small-press shout outs have been remarkable for the beauty of their website, the New Press’s site is all business. I would even characterize it as “workmanlike,” which I hope they take as a compliment. They’re not messing around at the New Press. They’re too busy delivering useful information.
You can check out their Spring 2014 Collection, including works by Alice Walker and Eric Hobsbawm, here. It also appears as if they recently lost someone close to them, founding editor André Schiffrin, who led an amazing literary life before passing away last December. A good time to send the Press some well wishes by browsing their titles and picking up a book or two.
You can check out my own adventures in small pressing, or indie publishing, or whatever it should be called, by picking up a copy of The Race: A Novella, now available in paperback, or my latest e-book, The Promotion! And do give Little Pickle Press (our B Corp shout-out) a little love as well!
Previous Small Press Shout-Outs: