Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2008 Independent Publisher of the Year: University of Nebraska Press

From the Independent Publisher of the Year 2008 Awards speech by Victoria Sutherland, Publisher, ForeWord Magazine:
. . . And that’s the reason why we’re here, isn’t it. Because editors and publishers know how to make choices. Of course different editors will make different choices, but there still remains that responsibility for the acquisition, subjective as it may be, and the care of the manuscript. There is monitoring for quality. And ultimately, there is the accumulation of a house’s taste—call it cultural heritage—through backlist.

This is where independent publishers can and do differ from the conglomerates. When an independent chooses to publish an author, it’s because they truly believe that the author’s work contributes to the press’s “cultural heritage.” Independents don’t have the luxury of throwing authors up against walls to see what will stick.

Luxury is probably—is definitely—the wrong word. It isn’t luxury to publish thousands of titles a year, It’s glut. It’s flood. It’s content chaos. It’s what editors and publishers are supposed to prevent.

So, we’d like to honor today a publisher that excelled in its role of keeper of the cultural heritage. A university publisher that has deliberately made a place for itself in the world of trade as the curator of consistently wonderful books in several special markets. This university press not only publishes scholarly work, fine translation, classic reprints, and regional fiction and poetry, but it has made a name for itself in the categories of memoir, combined with history and travel, and in sports.

This publisher fulfills its roles of editor and curator in a way that makes them indispensable in libraries and bookstores. Whomever or whatever they choose to look at, to listen to, to get to the bottom of, is important or beautiful or entertaining, and always, always enduring. At ForeWord, we are always excited to receive a new catalog from them because we’ve discovered over the years that if they’ve chosen to publish a book, then it is surely a contribution to the world library, not just another wet noodle.

Please join us in recognizing the University of Nebraska Press as the 2008 ForeWord Magazine Independent Publisher of the Year.
In addition, The Wide Open: Prose, Poetry, and Photographs of the Prairie, edited by Annick Smith and Susan O'Connor, won the Gold Award in the anthology category; and Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of My Father's German Village, by Mimi Schwartz, won the Bronze Award in the autobiography and memoir category.

Here's a link to a little local coverage of the award.

Three cheers for UNP!

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