Monthly Archives: February 2014

Behind the Covers: “The Narrative of the Sufferings of Lewis Clarke…”

Lewis George Clarke published the story of his life as a slave in 1845, after he had escaped from Kentucky and become a well-regarded abolitionist lecturer throughout the North. His book was the first work by a slave to be acquired by the Library of Congress and placed under copyright. In 2012, the University of Washington Press published a facsimile edition of Clarke’s book introduced by his great-grandson, Carver Clark Gayton. Today, UW Press senior designer Thomas Eykemans walks us through the creative process behind producing the cover to this important publication.

The title of a book can go a long way toward determining how its cover is designed. A short, punchy title can be made as bold and splashy as space allows. Most titles are a bit more descriptive, and require some creative line breaks and typographical distinctions. What, then, to do with a thirty-word title—not including the subtitle or author bylines?

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Association of Writers & Writing Programs: UW Press Author Signing Schedule

The annual meeting of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) convenes here in Seattle this week. UW Press will be at the meeting, sharing booth 509 with our distribution partners, Lost Horse Press and Lynx House Press. If you’re attending the meeting, we hope you can come by and get to know our books and authors!

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UW Press News, Reviews, and Events


Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley, our wonderful distribution from the Fowler Museum at UCLA, has been awarded the Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award from the Arts Council of the African Studies Association.  Congratulations to the editors,  Marla C. Berns, Richard Fardon, and Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, as well as all the contributors to this wonderful volume.

This week we learned that two University of Washington Press titles received Association of American University Presses Jacket & Cover Design Awards! Senior designer Thomas Eykemans won for Temple Grove: A Novel, by Scott Elliott and designer Dustin Kilgore won for Church Resistance to Nazism in Norway, 1940-1945, by Arne Hassing. We feel very lucky to have such a talented design team on staff–congratulations to both Tom and Dustin!

Review Highlights

Charming Gardeners by David Biespiel
“On the surface, Biespiel’s poems seem like the private meditations of one man. However, his poems encompass each of us, socially and politically, by illuminating our nation’s contradictory character: a longing for enchantment in a disenchanted world.” -John Ebersole, New Books in Poetry. Listen to the full New Books interview with David Biespiel here.

Car Country: An Environmental History by Christopher W. Wells
“In Car Country, Christopher W. Wells offers a compelling history of America’s signature car-dependent landscapes.The text is at once a deft synthesis of recent literature on motor vehicles, highways, urban planning, suburban development, and land use policy, and a persuasive reinterpretation of these histories through the lens of landscape ecology. With lively anecdotes, effective imagery, and dozens of illustrations, the book also presents an accessible narrative that will help students visualize how Americans gradually and profoundly transformed their nation into a place ‘where car dependence is woven into the basic fabric of the landscape.’”  -Michael R. Fine, American Historical Review

Temple Grove: A Novel by Scott Elliott
“Elliott achieved his goal as a novelist — to help a reader fall in love with the natural world, especially that place perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a book worth reading, especially for those of us who already love the Pacific Northwest…[a] fine, timely work” -Skip Nelson, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

Upcoming Events

Courage in Action: A Symposium in Honor of the Life and Legacy of Gordon K. Hirabayashi, University of Washington, February 22 with special guest Lane Hirabayashi, coauthor of A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirbayashi v. United States

The annual meeting of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) convenes in Seattle next week. UW Press will be at the meeting, sharing booth 509 with our distribution partners, Lost Horse Press and Lynx House Press. The book exhibit will be open to the public on Saturday, March 1 so swing by our booth to check out our books and meet our authors.

P. Dee Boersma, coeditor of Penguins: Natural History and Conservation, Future of Ice Lecture Series, University of Washington Kane Hall, March 5 at 6:30 p.m.

New Books

Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture by Gary Y. Okihiro
The second edition of this classic work on multiculturalism features a new introduction by the author and a new preface by Moon-Ho Jung. While considering anew the meanings of Asian American social history, Okihiro argues that the core values and ideals of the nation emanate today not from the so-called mainstream but from the margins, from among Asian and African Americans, Latinos and American Indians, women, and the gay and lesbian community.

Family Revolution: Marital Strife in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Visual Culture by Hui Faye Xiao
Reading popular “divorce narratives” in fiction, film, and TV drama, Hui Faye Xiao shows that the representation of marital discord has become a cultural battleground for competing ideologies within post-revolutionary China.

Songs for a Summons by David Guterson / Distributed for Lost Horse Press
Written well into mid-life, Songs for a Summons are explorations and observations of a writing life. David Guterson is the author of Snow Falling on Cedars, recipient of the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award; East of the Mountains; Our Lady of the Forest; The Other; and Ed King. Songs for a Summons is his first poetry book.

Science, Whaling, and International Conservation

In his new book, Whales and Nations: Environmental Diplomacy on the High Seas, Kurkpatrick Dorsey details international efforts to create a regulatory framework that would support a sustainable whaling industry. Although those efforts ultimately failed, Dorsey illuminates the implications and lessons learned from that failure for current international conservation and sustainability efforts. In this guest post, Dorsey draws parallels between the lack of scientific consensus in debates about climate change and the international whaling industry.

I suppose that if I were a newspaper editor, I would be thankful for climate change, whether or not I owned beachfront property. For the last few weeks, a lively debate on the subject has been running in my local paper, Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, New Hampshire. Climate change has been the subject of syndicated columns, letters to the editor, and even editorial cartoons. Most interesting was a debate between two area men with claims to expertise, which has been evolving through community commentary to letters to the editor to a head-to-head pairing of articles, followed by more letters. The most fascinating debating point was whether or not a consensus actually exists among climate scientists that people are contributing to changing the earth’s climate. In other words, is the scientific community really that certain about climate change?

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New Art History Website and College Art Association Conference Preview

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 6.44.37 AMThis is a big week for University of Washington Press art and art history books! First, along with our partners in the Art History Publication Initiative (AHPI) – Duke University Press, Penn State University Press, and the University of Pennsylvania Press – we’re delighted to launch AHPI’s new website:

AHPI’s mission is to help bring art history publishing into the digital age by tackling some of the obstacles that have made it difficult for scholars and publishers to take advantage of evolving digital technologies. All AHPI books are being published in both print and digital form, and the website will host accompanying multimedia materials such as video clips, interviews, podcasts, interactive maps, and more.

The website will also serve as a forum for discussions of rights and permissions issues that can be particularly vexing in the field of art history, with blog posts on recent developments and case studies about problems encountered and solutions found. For more information about the initiative and the first books in it, please visit the new site!

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UW Press News, Reviews, and Events

Thanks to all who made our blog launch a success last week! We appreciated all the retweets, follows, and this mention in Columbia University Press’s weekly round-up of highlights from academic publishing blogs.


Taipei: City of Displacements by Joseph Allen, was just named the winner of the Joseph Levenson Post-1900 Book Prize by the Association for Asian Studies. We look forward to celebrating the receipt of this distinguished award next month at the annual meeting of the AAS.

P. Dee Boersma, world-renowned biologist and coeditor of Penguins: Natural History and Conservation, has made a number of media appearances in the past weeks. Follow the links below to learn more about her insights on the impacts of climate change on global penguin populations.

The New York Times: For Already Vulnerable Penguins, Study Finds Climate Change Is Another Danger

Science Friday: Hotter Weather, Heavier Rains Threaten Penguins

BBC News: Climate Change is Killing Argentina’s Magellanic Penguin Chicks

We were saddened to learn that Hazel M. Sampson, the last native speaker of the Klallam language, passed away on Thursday. The University of Washington Press had the pleasure of working with Sampson as an advisor to Timothy Montler’s Klallam Dictionary. We send our condolences to her family and loved ones.

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Uncovering African American History in the Pacific Northwest

In honor of African American History Month, we feature a guest post from authors Lorraine McConaghy and Judy Bentley about the story behind their book, Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master. The book’s narrative centers on the biography of young slave, Charles Mitchell, who was brought to Washington Territory in the 1850s and whose personal narrative highlights issues of race, slavery, and treason. The long-forgotten story of Charles Mitchell is part of a larger picture of a largely unseen African American history in the Pacific Northwest, but Free Boy—as well as other books in our V. Ethel Willis White series—are part of a growing effort to recognize this important aspect of our region’s history.

Mention the Underground Railroad to a middle school audience and they think of codes embedded in quilts, hidden rooms, and bloodhound chases through swamps. The geography is all East Coast, with strong activity in Indiana and Ohio, too. The drama of this railroad has drawn readers of all ages and crowned Harriet Tubman its heroine.

But the bravery of an unknown boy and an unknown underground attracted us to the story of Charles Mitchell, which we told in Free Boy. This fugitive slave narrative evolved from a one-paragraph newspaper story, which Lorraine discovered when she was researching Civil War history in the West. Charles Mitchell was born a slave on a family plantation in Maryland and was given to the household of James Tilton, Surveyor General of Washington Territory,  when he was only eight. Tilton had promised to educate him and free him when he turned eighteen, but in 1860, at the age of thirteen, Mitchell escaped to the Crown Colony of Victoria, aided by free blacks who had created a tiny Puget Sound Underground Railroad. His flight was reported not because of his courageous break for freedom but because Mitchell’s action embittered Tilton and radicalized his racial views.

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