Category Archives: Biography

Behind the Covers: “Looking for Betty MacDonald” and Three New Editions . . .

macdonald-book-3dPaula Becker‘s Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first comprehensive biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona. In this guest post, designer Thomas Eykemans discusses the process of creating the cover in collaboration with the author and Seattle artist Tom DesLongchamp. He also shares the creation of the covers of three new editions of Betty’s memoirs, Anybody Can Do Anything, The Plague and I, and Onions in the Stew.

There are a million photographs of Betty MacDonald and any one of them could have made a great book cover. The portrait of a beaming bang-free Betty (below, lower left) was inset on many of the covers of her books when they were first published, and Paula describes how this particular image of her was perhaps the most familiar. Regarding The Egg and I:

After only a few months, Lippincott moved Betty’s appealing head shot from the back cover to the front, ditching Bennett’s art. For her readers, the merry pinup-girl author and the yarn she spun were indivisible. From this point on, Egg branded Betty, and Betty branded Egg.

macdonald-portraits

Various photographs of Betty MacDonald.

Despite their prevalence, a photo of Betty seemed too static for a biography about her, and definitely too black and white. Her rich life, warm personality, and merrily snarky attitude required something more energetic and colorful. Tom DesLongchamp is a Seattle-based artist and illustrator whose imaginative style is perfect for the challenge.

Continue reading

September 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Congratulations to Sylvanna M. Falcón, winner of the National Women’s Studies Association 2016 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize for Power Interrupted, selected “for its clear writing, as well as its adept integration of intersectional and transnational analyses to assess the grassroots feminist work that employs international frameworks when addressing gender and racial issues through the global stage that the UN provides.”

Reviews and Interviews

David Takami reviews Judy Bentley’s Walking Washington’s History in the Seattle Times: “Coming soon to a city near you: clusters of visitors gazing intently at a handheld object as a way to engage with their surroundings. . . . The commendable new book by Judy Bentley. . . . is an immensely appealing approach to writing history. . . . Bentley demonstrates that history is not abstruse and remote from our current experience; it is ever present—and just around the next corner.“

Christian Martin reviews the book on the Chattermarks blog from North Cascades Institute: “Bentley provides brief but engaging historical overviews. . . . There are stories in the ground beneath our feet, dashed dreams lingering in the air, as well as legacies of benevolent forethought from a not-so-distant past all around us.”


Continue reading

From the Desk of Rachael Levay: Fall 2016 Sneak Peek

While everyone is hitting the beach or the open road for a summer road trip, the book world is getting ready for fall, our biggest season. Sales reps are currently calling on accounts from coast to coast—independent bookstores, museums, and galleries—and we are working on events, ads, direct mail, and exhibits to ensure our titles reach the broadest audiences possible.

So in the spirit of summer, I’d like to share a few highlights from the Fall 2016 season, books that have already garnered some exciting feedback from buyers, reps, and readers.

Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture, edited by Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael-Hernandez, explores how visual media has shaped our ideas of diasporic imaginings of the individual and collective self. Featuring a broad range of scholars and artists, this powerful volume features 21 color illustrations and its oversize trim has made it very popular with buyers at museums, particularly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and has led many buyers to look more deeply at our backlist titles in African and African American art.

DeepestRoots_AlcalaThe Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, by Kathleen Alcalá, explores relevant questions about food and place by looking closely at how the cultural history of Bainbridge Island contributed to its culinary and agricultural makeup. More importantly, though, Alcalá uses this unique place to examine our current relationships to food and show how we can make savvy decisions about our present that will sustainably honor the future. It’s a smart and moving book that should be read by everyone interested in the ways in which food shapes our lives.

My personal favorite from this list is Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I, by Paula Becker. Yes, it’s funny and sweet and illuminates a part of the Pacific Northwest’s history that may be fresh to our region’s newcomers, but what’s made it such fun to work on is the sheer delight of my contacts when they remember their first experiences with The Egg and I or the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. A major library wholesaler buyer sent me pictures of her beloved childhood copies of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, an events coordinator for one of the country’s best independent bookstores talked at length about the emotional resonance of The Egg and I, a librarian in Illinois wrote to say she recommends MacDonald to patrons every week. We in university presses often get the chance to showcase important topics and spread scholarship that changes academia, but I don’t think I’ve worked on another book that has elicited such delight from early readers. It makes us feel like we’re part of the excitement!

Check out our full list of forthcoming titles in our Fall 2016 catalog.

Native American and Indigenous Studies Association 2016 conference preview

Later this week, we head to the 2016 annual meeting of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. The meeting runs from Wednesday, May 18, to Saturday, May 21, and we can’t wait to take part in this new round of scholarly conversations and to debut new offerings in Indigenous studies with scholars, activists, artists, and all attendees!

University of Washington Press director Nicole Mitchell and exhibits, advertising, and direct mail manager Katherine Tacke will represent the press in the exhibit hall, so come say hello at booth 201! Use the hashtag #NAISA2016 to follow along with the meeting on social media, and use promo code WST1614 for 30% off books and free shipping.

If you’ll be attending the meeting in Honolulu, we hope you will stop by to check out our new and forthcoming titles, including new books in the Indigenous Confluences series, as well as to learn more about the new collaborative Mellon-funded Indigenous studies digital publishing platform initiative spearheaded by UBC Press (flyer below).

New and forthcoming from our Indigenous Confluences series:

Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community
By Andrew J. Jolivette

Meet the author at NAISA on Wednesday, May 18!

“This excellent book helps to fill a huge gap in the Native studies literature about mixed-identity gay men and their struggles with multiple oppressions.”—Renya Ramirez, author of Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond

Indian Blood makes a significant contribution to the field as the first major work on Native Americans, HIV/AIDS, mixed-race identity, gender and sexuality, and the urban environment. The scholarship is superior.”—Irene Vernon, author of Killing Us Quietly: Native Americans and HIV/AIDS Continue reading

Fred Korematsu Day 2016

Since 2010, six states—California, Hawai’i, Utah, Illinois, Georgia, and Virginia—have designated January 30th as Fred Korematsu Day, the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. The recognition honors the birthday of the civil rights leader best known for resisting Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Several other states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, have or are considering legislative recognition. This year’s Fred Korematsu Day celebration in San Francisco, which would have been Fred’s ninety-seventh birthday, features a panel that includes Lorraine K. Bannai, author of Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice, which the UW Press released in November. As a young attorney in the 1980s, Bannai was part of the volunteer legal team that resurrected Korematsu’s case and got his unjust conviction overturned.

The following excerpt from Bannai’s book reflects on Fred Korematsu’s growing legacy.

“Stand Up for What Is Right”: 6th Annual Fred Korematsu Day Celebration

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Herbst Theatre, War Memorial & Performing Arts Center / 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
VIP Reception at 6:00 PM
Program at 7:30 PM

Re(ad)dressing Racial Injustice: From Japanese American Incarceration to Anti-Muslim Bigotry

FEATURED PANEL
Moderator: John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
Grande H. Lum, Director Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice
Farhana Khera, President & Executive Director, Muslim Advocates
Lorraine K. Bannai, Author, Enduring Conviction

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER
The Honorable Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, California Supreme Court Justice

MASTER OF CEREMONIES
John Sasaki, KTVU Fox 2

For ticketing and additional information, visit www.korematsuinstitute.org

Since Fred’s passing, the relevance of his life and case has only grown. His story has remained important as the nation has continued to try to heal the wounds of the wartime incarceration. On May 20, 2011, for example, Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal publicly acknowledged the improper actions of his World War II predecessor, Charles Fahy, when arguing Fred’s case before the Supreme Court. In his blog post “Confession of Error: The Solicitor General’s Mistakes during the Japanese-American Internment Cases,” Katyal explained that while solicitor generals have played important roles throughout history in advancing civil rights, “it is also important to remember the mistakes.”

Citing the evidence presented in Fred Korematsu’s and Gordon Hirabayashi’s coram nobis cases, Katyal related that Fahy was aware of “key intelligence reports that undermined the rationale behind the internment” but failed to disclose those reports to the Court. “And to make matters worse,” Katyal continued, “[Fahy] relied on gross generalizations about Japanese Americans, such as they were disloyal and motivated by ‘racial solidarity.’” He concluded, “Today, our Office takes this history as an important reminder that the ‘special credence’ the Solicitor General enjoys before the Supreme Court requires great responsibility and a duty of absolute candor in our representations to the Court. Only then can we fulfill our responsibility to defend the United States and its Constitution, and to protect the rights of all Americans.” Peter Irons commented that he thought the statement was “good and very long overdue.” “This was a deliberate, knowing lie by Fahy to the Supreme Court. For the nation’s highest counsel to make that statement now is quite noteworthy and admirable.”

Fred’s words have further echoed hauntingly as the country has continued to grapple with issues of race, profiling, and the protection of civil liberties during times of crisis. For example, provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) again raise the specter of indefinite military detention without charges or trial, and Fred’s name and case have been invoked to warn of the danger of compromising due process guarantees. Section 1021 of the NDAA of 2012, still in effect, affirms the authority of the military to indefinitely detain individuals who, in the judgment of military authorities, are considered to have “substantially supported” terrorist organizations. Many criticize that this language is so vague it would allow the indefinite detention of innocent individuals, including American citizens, if the military believed them to be “supporting” terrorism, without charges or trial or other judicial review.

Continue reading

Beyond “I Have a Dream”: Reading for MLK Week

As we head into the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and African American History Month, we are rounding up a selection of readings from the archives which celebrate the vital and varied contributions of black Americans today and throughout US history. These guest posts and books address social justice organizing and activism around issues of race, gender, sexuality, and difference in keeping with Dr. King’s life, work, and lasting legacy.

Stars for Selma (Guest post from Emilie Raymond, author of Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement | Read an excerpt)

Before #BlackLivesMatter: A History Lesson from the Black Panther Party (Guest post from Craig J. Peariso, author of Radical Theatrics: Put-Ons, Politics, and the Sixties)

Talking about Critical Mixed Race Studies in the Wake of Ferguson (Guest post from Laura Kina, coeditor of War Baby / Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art)

Uncovering African American History in the Pacific Northwest (Guest post from Lorraine McConaghy and Judy Bentley, authors of Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master)


Other books of note:

If you are located in Seattle, Bothell, or Tacoma, don’t miss the MLK Week 2016 calendar of events and social media tool-kit. This year, the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity, and the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center at the University of Washington have partnered on this suite of collaborative events inspired by past and current social justice work in the UW community around the MLK Day holiday (#UWMLKWeek).

Behind the Covers: ‘Classical Seattle’

BehindCover-ClassicalSeattle-3dThe past 50 years have seen a tremendous arts boom in Seattle, which has given the city not only internationally recognized classical music institutions but also great performance halls to showcase their work and that of visiting artists. In Classical Seattle: Maestros, Impresarios, Virtuosi, and Other Music Makers, Melinda Bargreen documents the lives of prominent figures in the local classical music world. In this guest post, UW Press Senior Designer Thomas Eykemans walks us through his creative process in designing the book’s cover.

This cover design presented a challenge that we frequently encounter: how to visually capture the essence of a rich book full of varied stories, photographs, and personalities in a singular and striking image. Though a collage approach is often tempting, it tends to dilute the composition and lessen the impact of any one image.

I looked to musical notation for inspiration in my early concepts. A musical staff with its clefs, notes, and other symbols provided a rich collection of shapes and forms from which to draw. Upon reflection, however, this direction felt a little cold and detached from the warmth of the people and stories contained within.

BehindCover-ClassicalSeattle-v2

An early concept using abstracted musical notation.

Continue reading

Holiday Books from UW Press

HolidaySale2015It’s a fact: Books make great gifts. They’re easy to wrap, make you look smart, and can transport you to other times and places without you having to leave the comfort of your favorite chair. So, go ahead, give the gift of knowledge. (Side effects may include curiosity and an increased appreciation of beauty.) Whether you’re shopping for history buffs, arts and culture fans, or nature lovers, we’ve got you covered.

To help you in your gift hunting efforts, don’t miss our Holiday Sale 2015. From now until December 31, 2015, get 40% off your favorite University of Washington Press titles with promo code WHLD. Questions? Contact Rachael Levay at remann [at] uw [dot] edu.

Check out our recommendations for the bibliophiles in your life, along with suggested gift pairings:

For the armchair historian/budding geographer:

Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography
By David B. Williams

“Williams does a marvelous job of evoking the cityscape that used to be. He clues us in to the spirit of civic ambition that drove Seattle’s geographical transformations. He methodically chronicles the stages by which its regrade, canal and landfill projects were accomplished. And he’s meticulous about placing his readers on present-day street corners where they can, with some sleight of mind, glimpse the hills, lake shores and tide flats that vanished.”—Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times

Pair it with: A walking tour of Seattle (or the city of your choice)

For the music aficionado:

Classical Seattle: Maestros, Impresarios, Virtuosi, and Other Music Makers
By Melinda Bargreen

“Melinda Bargreen’s Classical Seattle is a who’s who of the city’s classical-music scene over the past half-century, an entertaining recapitulation of interviews she did while serving as the music critic for The Seattle Times and writing for other publications.”—Ellen Emry Heltzel, Seattle Times

Pair it with: Season tickets to a concert series

For the comics fan:

Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime
By Deborah Elizabeth Whaley

This groundbreaking study of Black women’s participation in comic art includes interviews with artists and writers and suggests that the treatment of the Black female subject in sequential art says much about the place of people of African descent in national ideology in the United States and abroad.

Pair it with: A collector’s edition of a beloved comic or graphic novel

For the art lover:

Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection
By Brian J. Ferriso, Kimerly Rorschach, Dawson W. Carr, Mary Weaver Chapin, Chiyo Ishikawa, Patricia A. Junker, Catharina Manchanda, Mary Ann Prior, and Sue Taylor
Published with Portland Art Museum, Portland

“[A] rare and incredible show.”—Jamie Hale, Oregonian

“[This] blockbuster delivers the goods.”—Bob Hicks, Oregon ArtsWatch

Pair it with: A museum membership

For the landscape design nerd:

The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag: From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design
By Thaisa Way
Foreword by Mark Treib
Afterword by Laurie Olin

“While the book tells Haag’s story, it also describes the evolution of landscape architecture in the Northwest.”—Columns

Pair it with: A picnic in Gas Works Park or your local sculpture park

For the fly fisherman, woman, and child:

Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West
By Jen Corrinne Brown

“[T]his is a well-researched, richly detailed history of trout and trout fishing in the Mountain West that, as the author promises, ‘overturns the biggest fish story ever told.'”—John Gierach, Wall Street Journal

Pair it with: A fishing trip or a new fly or rod

For the avid cyclist:

Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road
By James Longhurst

“A measure of any book is whether it makes you think beyond its pages, and Bike Battles did just that for me. My dad used to tell me that if I got only one thing out of a book-an interesting fact, a point of view I hadn’t previously considered, something helpful to my life or just entertainment-the book was worth its cover price. By that standard Bike Battles is a bargain. It allowed me to see the last 150 years of riding in America like a mosaic on the wall. I won’t look at parked cars the same way again. The book ought to give today’s bicycle advocates a sense of their place in history and make them proud to continue the battle.”—Grant Petersen, Wall Street Journal

Pair it with: A customized bike helmet or high-visibility gear

For the social justice warrior:

Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement
By Emilie Raymond

Raymond shows how, during the Civil Rights Movement, a handful of celebrities risked their careers by crusading for racial equality, and forged the role of celebrity in American political culture with a focus on the “Leading Six” trailblazers—Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dick Gregory, and Sidney Poitier.

Pair it with: The gift of solidarity in the form of a donation to a civil rights organization in the recipient’s name

Q&A with ‘Enduring Conviction’ author Lorraine K. Bannai

In her new book Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice, Lorraine K. Bannai brings an insider’s knowledge to the famous legal case of Fred T. Korematsu, a young man who decided to resist F.D.R.’s Executive Order 9066, which provided authority for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. His was initially the case of a young man following his heart: he wanted to remain in California with his Italian American fiancée. However, he quickly came to realize that it was more than just a personal choice; it was a matter of basic human rights.

After refusing to leave for incarceration when ordered, Korematsu was eventually arrested and convicted of a federal crime before being confined at Topaz, Utah.

He appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, which upheld the wartime orders in 1944. Forty years later, a team of young attorneys resurrected Korematsu’s case. This time, Korematsu prevailed and his conviction was overturned, helping to pave the way for Japanese American redress.

Bannai, who was a young attorney on the legal team that represented Korematsu in reopening his case in the 1980s, combines her experiences of working on the case with extensive archival research and first-person interviews. She uncovers the inspiring story of a humble, soft-spoken man who fought tirelessly against human rights abuses long after he was exonerated. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

We spoke with Bannai about her book, published this fall.

Join us for the launch event with Lorraine K. Bannai, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, and Karen Korematsu:

Thursday, November 19, 4:30-6:30 p.m. // Seattle University, Sullivan Hall, Room C-5

Why did you want to put together this book?

Lorraine K. Bannai: There are several reasons. First and foremost, I wanted others to know Fred’s story. Fred was a 22-year-old welder in Oakland, California, at the time the government ordered Japanese Americans removed from the West Coast. He chose not to obey and chose instead to remain with the woman he loved in the area that was, and had always been, his home. For that, he was convicted of a federal crime. In 1944, in one the most infamous cases in its history, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and, in doing so, the removal of over 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry to desolate camps in the interior United States. Forty years later, on proof that the wartime government had lied to the Supreme Court, Fred reopened his case and gained vacation of his conviction; in related proceedings, two other wartime resisters, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui, gained vacation of their convictions, as well. Fred then went on to speak nationally about the constant need to be vigilant to protect civil rights, especially during times of fear. Many people know of Fred’s case; it’s taught in most every law school Constitutional Law class in the country. I wanted to share the story of the good man behind the case and his commitment to protecting others from the type of ignorance and scapegoating that resulted in the wartime Japanese American incarceration.

Further, I wanted to use Fred’s story to illuminate other themes. Fred’s story is also one about the Japanese American community, or at least my experience of the community. I am a third generation Japanese American—a sansei. My grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles were incarcerated at Manzanar in the Mojave Desert. In examining Fred’s life, I hoped to share the experience of this community, an experience unfortunately not unlike the experience of many immigrant communities of color—met by hostility, treated as suspicious and forever foreign. And I hoped to show that, while Japanese Americans share, in many respects, a common culture and historical experience, they are a community of diverse individuals who had multiple different responses to their incarceration—obedience, fear, hurt, anger, defiance—each response unique and understandable.

In addition, as a lawyer, I wanted to use Fred’s story as a case study about the law and legal system—how oftentimes law and justice aren’t the same thing; the need for government officials and the courts to protect the most vulnerable among us; our own roles and responsibilities as citizens to speak out against injustice; and what happens when we fail to live up to our national ideals. The incarceration of Japanese Americans was called for by civic organizations, officials at every level of government, and the popular media. Few spoke out against it. Most who called for the incarceration believed they were acting the best interests of the country. But we now know that the incarceration was an egregious violation of civil liberties.

At the same time Fred’s case can teach us about the ways in which the legal system and its actors can fail us, it also shows examples of ways in which they can be instruments of justice and the promotion of healing. I was privileged to serve on Fred’s legal team in reopening his case. Working with that team of committed, talented lawyers was one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences I’ve had in my career.

Q: Describe the process of putting together Enduring Conviction.

LKB: It was a long process. I don’t know if it was unusually long, but it certainly seems like it was! It had been simmering in my mind for a number of years, but did not have room to grow until my home institution, Seattle University School of Law, provided me sabbatical time to really dig in. Much of the work involved research in various depositories, including the national archives, libraries, museums, and the like. For example, it was amazing to see the 1942 handwritten entry checking Fred into the San Leandro Jail, in a log now kept by the San Leandro History Museum, as well as the photos of Fred’s parents in his mother’s immigration file at the National Archives in San Bruno. And it was moving to see the wartime letters between Fred and his ACLU legal advocate Ernest Besig at the California Historical Society in San Francisco. But most meaningful were the dozens of interviews I was able to conduct with people who knew Fred—his wife, Kathryn; his children, Karen and Ken; and other members of his family, his friends and acquaintances, and members of his legal team. There were a lot of trips to the Bay Area to do this work. And there were lots of hours at my dining table surrounded by books and papers. It’s nice to now have use of my dining table again.

Q: Who do you see as the audience for your book?

LKB: There are a number of books about Fred for younger audiences. I wrote this book for a college-age/adult audience. I hope that this book will reach readers interested in the Japanese American incarceration, American history, American ethnic studies, Asian American studies, civil rights, race and the law, constitutional law, and legal history. I am most hopeful, however, that this book reaches a general audience interested in the story of someone who simply took a stand against injustice, despite what others thought. In the end, I think that Fred speaks to each us and tells us that we each have both the responsibility and ability to help this country live up to its ideals, which includes vigilance in protecting the marginalized.

Q: Your book tells such a powerful and important story. How did you come up with the title?

LKB: Perhaps like many authors, I struggled to come up with a title that I felt really captured what this book was about (see above—I was trying to do a lot with this book). I spoke with friends and colleagues and just couldn’t seem to come up with anything that seemed quite right. For example, I didn’t want anything along the lines of “Justice Won,” because, while Fred won the vacation of his conviction, we, as a nation, are a long way from achieving justice of the type Fred sought, particularly racial justice.

I was very lucky to have a small, trusted group who read the manuscript (numerous times) and gave me great feedback from diverse points of view. One of these individuals was Uncle Sam Eng, a very wise, very smart, very well-read, and very exacting 80-year-old. He called me one day and said, “I have a title.” And it’s a great one, I think. I’m eternally grateful to Uncle Sam.