At West Virginia University Press we’re wrapping up a year of firsts – our first time in the New York Times, the Atlantic, No Depression, and PBS NewsHour online; our first time winning the Weatherford Award and landing finalists for the Southern Book Prize and the Lambda Literary Award. And while we’ve been reviewed in Publishers Weekly many times, we’ve never before had one of our titles held up in PW as evidence of the value of university press publishing.
More firsts: our director in the Chronicle of Higher Education, our marketing manager named a 40 under 40, and our art director chosen for a committee that judges the country’s best book covers. We hired a new managing editor who has a master’s in professional writing and editing from WVU – our first full-time colleague from that nationally renowned program.
We exhibited our titles at conferences in seven states and one Canadian province. Our authors toured all 120 counties in Kentucky, presided over pepperoni roll contests, and held readings everywhere from the International Center for Photography in New York to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. We published books by scholars from the United States, Canada, and Europe; from big universities like Virginia Tech and Indiana University and smaller ones like Samford and West Virginia Wesleyan; and, of course, from WVU. In one book alone we published work by more than 60 West Virginians.
It was our first time sharing exhibit space with WVU’s Department of Geography and our first time granting free digital access to a classic backlist book. Our titles were spotted in bookstores across the country and also (likely a first) at MoMA, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Met.
Amid all the firsts, we’ve also enjoyed continuity, especially in our dynamic collaborations with partners across the university, the state, and the world, from the Cheat River Review to the West Virginia Humanities Council to the Association of American University Presses. Those relationships – with you, our supporters, authors, readers, and friends – help make us the largest publisher in the state of West Virginia and a vital intellectual, cultural, and literary resource. We’re enormously grateful and wish you all the best this holiday season.
– Derek, Abby, Than, Sara, Floann, Kat, and Andrew