Category Archives: UW Press News

February 2017 News, Reviews, and Events


We are pleased to announce that Catherine Cocks is joining our acquisitions team as Senior Acquisition Editor, starting February 15. She started her career in academic publishing at SAR Press, the publishing arm of the School for Advanced Research, where she established the cutting-edge series in Global Indigenous Politics, among other accomplishments. She worked most recently at the University of Iowa Press, where she is currently Editorial Director. Please join us in welcoming Catherine to the press!

The University of Washington Press has five selected entries in the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) 2017 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. Congratulations to the designers, our Editorial, Design, and Production department, and all involved!

Nine University of Washington Press authors will be participating in the 12th Annual Literary Voices event on May 3, 2017. Annie Proulx is this year’s keynote speaker.

Reviews and Interviews

The Times Literary Supplement reviews Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard: “Engelhard has an apt and unusual background for a book such as this. . . . Among the strengths of Ice Bear is its grasp of the rituals by which humans have always aspired to draw the strength of the polar bear into themselves.”—Mark Abley

The Spectator also reviews the book: “[A] beautifully illustrated, hugely engaging book. . . . For all its nightmare-haunting power, however, the aspect of the polar bear that really makes it an icon of the age is its vulnerability . . . . Another merit of the book is the author’s willingness to track these themes to their origins.”—Mark Cocker

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Happy holidays from all of us at UW Press

Thank you and warmest holiday wishes from the UW Press team. Happy holiday reading and see you in 2017!

(P.S. Our Holiday Sale is still on through December 30, 2016. Questions? Contact Rachael Levay at remann [at] uw [dot] edu.)

(Videos via Yule Log 2.016. More submissions at Vimeo.)

Yule Burn Your Sausage from Chris Anderson on Vimeo.

Tenggrenska – Yule Log 2016 from Tenggrenska on Vimeo.

FFS, Focus! – Yule Log 2016 from Alex Mapar on Vimeo.

Yule Log 2016 – A Traditional Christmas Eve from Parallel Teeth on Vimeo.

Pixely Log (Yule Log 2016) from henrique barone on Vimeo.

YULE LOG 2016: Meowy Cat-Mas from Erin Kilkenny on Vimeo.

From the Desk of Tom Helleberg: The Charleston Conference

2016_charleston-conferenceThe first week of November, I was fortunate enough to travel across the southeast visiting with printers in Tennessee and representing the University of Washington Press at the 36th annual Charleston Conference in South Carolina.

The Charleston Conference is billed as an “informal gathering of librarians, publishers, consultants, and vendors to discuss issues of importance to them all.” While the conference may have humble origins, with a scant twenty participants in early meetings, 2016 featured over 1,600 attendees spread across a dozen hotels and venues with a program as thick as a phone book and as many as twenty concurrent sessions at any given time. This was a big to-do, even in comparison to the annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses.

Since 2014, there has been an increasing publisher presence at Charleston, with many attendees from the AAUP as well as academic publishers. This has been driven by publisher-focused pre-sessions; by an increase in publisher panels and presentations (such as the “What’s the Big Idea” talk by the directors of Michigan, Mississippi, and National Academies); and by the growing realization that university presses and libraries not only share a mission, but are often approaching the same challenges from different directions. Continue reading

Holiday Books from UW Press

If your family is anything like mine, the season of giving is a non-stop search for just the right book for everyone in our lives—Mom loves history! Dad loves art! Siblings love local food! Luckily University of Washington Press has you covered with a range of books that will surely appeal to everyone on your list.


We are delighted to extend a 50% discount to our University of Washington Press community. Please use the code WHOL16 when ordering via our website or when calling customer service at 1-800-537-5487. (Please contact Rachael Levay with any questions at remann [at] uw [dot] edu.)

Feeling lucky? Enter our Holiday Book Bundle giveaway using the form at the bottom of this post for a chance to win free copies of some of our favorite holiday picks, including the ones featured here.

For the animal lover or the art lover:

Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon by Michael Engelhard combines amazing art and illustrations with a fascinating history of the polar bear. With over 170 color illustrations, Engelhard shows us the full scope of the polar bear’s appeal and ensures you’ll never think of the polar bear the same way.

For the lover of memoir or the literary type:

The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes tells the poignant and lyrical story of Hayes’s return to Juneau and to her Tlingit home after many years away. Interweaving her personal history with the story of the Raven and the Box of Daylight, Hayes illuminates her frustration and anger at what still faces Alaska Natives in their own land while examining her own evolution as a writer.

For the history buff or the outdoorsman/woman:

Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics by Darren Speece tells the riveting history of how the giant redwoods emerged as an icon of the struggle over environment and industry. Bill McKibben says Defending Giants “brings back to life the story of some of the most committed and capable environmentalists I’ve ever known, people who worked on a scale as epic as the forests they fought for.”

For everyone else in the Pacific Northwest:

Birds of the Pacific Northwest: A Photographic Guide by Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman has over 900 illustrations and shows off the birds that live in our coastal rainforest, North America’s northernmost deserts, and the northern/mid-Rockies to the east.

October 2016 News, Reviews, and Events


The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library announces the finalists in eight categories for the 2016 Washington State Book Awards for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2015. Congratulations to our finalists Ana Maria Spagna (Reclaimers; Biography/Memoir) and Ruth Kirk (Ozette; History/General Nonfiction). The winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 8, 2016. Emcee for the evening is Frances McCue, twice a UW Press finalist for a WSBA (in 2011 for The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs and in 2015 for Mary Randlett Portraits). The awards celebration is free and open to the public.

University of Washington Press shares in the remembrance of Sarah Reichard, who died suddenly in her sleep on August 29, 2016. Dr. Reichard directed the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, was coeditor of Invasive Species of the Pacific Northwest, and advised UW Press on other projects. Read obituaries and details on the October 13th memorial celebration in the Seattle Times and Offshoots (blog of the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences).

Reviews and Interviews

Michael Upchurch reviews Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker in the Seattle Times: “The Egg and I, The Plague and I and Anybody Can Do Anything practically cavort off the page. How did [Betty MacDonald] do it? Seattle author Paula Becker has some answers in her compact, finely crafted biography.”

Lory Widmer Hess reviews the biography on her Emerald City Book Review blog: “I was delighted to explore MacDonald’s life and work through Paula Becker’s thoughtful, painstakingly researched biography, and even more thrilled to see that University of Washington Press is going to be reprinting three hard-to-find later works by the bestselling author of The Egg and I: Anybody Can Do Anything, The Plague and I, and Onions in the Stew. . . . If you’re not a MacDonald enthusiast, you will be soon. . . . We can be grateful that Becker has preserved it for us in words, and has given us valuable insights into her world, her books, her family, and the writer herself.”

Barbara McMichael reviews in the Kitsap Sun: “The pages zing with unexpected detail and nuggets of lacerating wit. . . If you’re Looking for Betty MacDonald, you need look no further.” Paula’s other book (The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition) and the MacDonald reissues (The Plague and I, Anybody Can Do Anything, and Onions in the Stew) also get mentions.

Steve Donoghue reviews the books at Open Letters Monthly: “A smart and immensely readable portrait, taking readers through MacDonald’s life. . . . Becker has combed every interview and profile, and her book veritably glows with MacDonald’s recaptured wit. . . . Thanks to Paula Becker’s exhaustive research and the compassionate, standard-setting book she’s shaped out of it, 21st century readers can meet a much fuller and more fascinating version of that complex, challenging, laughing woman. Readers of her books will still want to thank her, but thanks to Looking for Betty MacDonald, they’ll know her much better.” The Plague and I (“improbably funny. . . equally remarkable”) and Anybody Can Do Anything (“again improbably funny”) also get mentions.

Bainbridge Community Broadcasting’s “What’s Up Bainbridge” host Wendy Wallace speaks with Paula Becker about the biography and reissues.
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September 2016 News, Reviews, and Events


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.”

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Summer Reads: Staff Picks

As staff members start heading out on adventures and taking advantage of the long, sunny days, we wanted to find out which books they are most excited to read (or re-read) this summer.

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (Picador USA)

“As a kid I spent most summers away—either visiting family in India or studying dance in Virginia—and to me, the hot season was a time for calibrated isolation. Three months simultaneously far from my school friends but immersed in an alternate reality, unnervingly familiar but frustratingly different. John Darnielle, known for his dynamic songwriting as the Mountain Goats, wrote a novel about a kid who knows situational dissonance well, only for very different reasons. Maybe a little summer escapism can be a good thing?”—Intellectual property manager Puja Boyd

Just Be Yourself by Mary Bard (J.B. Lippincott, 1956)

“Like the Brontës before them, authing was a family pastime for Bard sisters Betty and Mary. So after a springtime steeped in the life and works of Pacific Northwest writer Betty MacDonald, I asked her biographer (Looking For Betty MacDonald author Paula Becker) for a book recommendation by the elder sister. With Just Be Yourself in hand, I am ready to experience the literary stylings of Mary Bard (no doubt comparing the sisters to each other) as she recounts the time she agreed to be her daughters’ Brownie leader when all their local troops were full. Never one to be held back by having no training, Mary is sure to take on this role with confident aplomb. I can’t wait to be inspired and entertained.”—Senior project editor Nancy Cortelyou

Scent of Apples: A Collection of Stories by Bienvenido N. Santos (University of Washington Press)

“Although I have now been with UW Press for just over two years, in that time I have only worked my way through a tiny fraction of the backlist. Considering there are literally a hundred years’ worth of books down in the basement stacks, this lack of progress is totally reasonable and entirely forgivable. Less forgivable is that Bienvenido Santos’s Scent of Apples is on the list of Press books I have yet to read. The spare, workmanly cover gives a nice little nod to the style of the stories themselves. Not knowing that much else about Santos, but having read my share of economical and elliptical short stories, I am expecting sort of a Visayan-inflected John Fante.”—Chief financial officer Tom Helleberg

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (Book #1 of The Dandelion Dynasty; Saga Press)

Liu’s book recently won the 2016 Locus Award for First Novel. I was introduced to his work by the award-winning story “The Paper Menagerie,” which then led me to his translation of The Three Body Problem. Ken’s writing is, quite simply, beautiful and it is used to highlight a new voice and insight into a field and genre that has often felt stale. I’m really excited to see what an extended world looks like through his lens and to meet his characters.”—Assistant editor Whitney Johnson

Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt (Drawn & Quarterly)

“I have been utterly entertained by artist and ‘Bojack Horseman’ producer Lisa Hanawalt since I started listening to the Baby Geniuses podcast she co-hosts with comedian Emily Heller.  Some of the pieces in the book have their origins in illustrated columns Hanawalt put together for Lucky Peach, which you should also read. In expanded form, this project promises to combine all of the things I crave during the summer: art, culture, and food-related exploits tied together with irreverent humor.”—Publicity and communications manager Casey LaVela

Find Me by Laura van den Berg (FSG Originals)

“While I was working toward my MFA in creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, my first foray into publishing was working as co-editor of The Greensboro Review. I called dibs on a story right off the bat as my pick for our next issue: “The Language of Their Youth,” about a dying Russian submarine admiral who remembers a young woman he once loved and lost. It was by a fellow MFA writer at Emerson College named Laura van den Berg and I loved everything about her voice, her writing, and her style.

While I haven’t written anything in years, I’ve been thrilled to see van den Berg’s writing progress. Her first collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (2009), is an incredible, beautiful,  masterful next step (and what a title, am I right?) and The Isle of Youth (2013), her next collection, was all that too but her work also evolved into something darker, more complex.

So this summer, I’m itching to read her first novel, Find Me, which takes a dystopian future and makes it both ordinary and extraordinary (something that happens with all her stories, too). I can’t wait to read it slowly, carefully, and thoroughly. And you all should too, trust me – both the today me and the me from 2006 because we knew then and still know now Laura van den Berg’s going to be a lasting voice in American fiction.”—Marketing and sales director Rachael Levay

The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron (Seven Stories Press)

“This debut novel from one of my favorite social justice indie publishers has been peripherally compared to Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (which I madly and sadly consumed). The author is a renowned playwright and wrote for the HBO series ‘The Wire,’ and her language is beautiful, masterful, and alive with the dialects of the South during WWII. It’s also a whopping 789 pages long, and there’s nothing like starting a book knowing I can savor it for weeks to come.”—Direct marketing, exhibits, and advertising manager Katherine Tacke

Forest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest edited by Nathaniel Brodie, Charles Goodrich, and Frederick J. Swanson (University of Washington Press)

“If you can’t visit the serene temperate rain forest of the Pacific Northwest yourself this summer, Forest Under Story will take you there. ‘Bees hum, seeking manzanita. Contrails drift. Black spiders shuttle in the scree,’ writes John R. Campbell in one of the book’s many gems. ‘Sometimes place just scratches out words.’ Indeed, that is exactly what Oregon’s H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest has done: it inspired this book’s contributors, and their reflections, musings, and observations are as absorbing as they are atmospheric. It is of course a joy to be thoroughly transported just by opening a book. No matter where I open this one, I know I will be.”—Editing, design, and production manager Jacqueline Volin