You started with the aim to give women more direct access to publishing. How has this mission shaped Alice James Books? How does your emphasis on gender-equality in publishing set you apart from other publishing houses?
The mission to create and maintain space for women writers remains extremely relevant—almost as much today as it was when the press was founded in 1973. I’d say we’ve kept true and respondent to the mission to support women writers, and we recommitted to this objective formally in 2014 by revising our mission statement. Along with women, however, there are many underserved, underrecognized, and marginalized voices that we aim to serve and support. The fact that publishing is predominantly white and male does not escape our sights, nor should it ever. Things might be changing, but they have not actually changed. The press remains conscious of this fact, and our commitment to publishing a broad range of voices helps us achieve the aims we set forth–that we don’t just look to one voice, except, perhaps, the American voice, which is at once multitudinous.
What is the most exciting project currently underway?
By all means, the June Jordan Reader is what has everyone so jazzed right now. The book is a new endeavor for the press and we are proud to be publishing this 400+ page collection of her work, as curated by Christoph Keller and Jan Heller Levi. Jordan was an incredibly prolific writer who excelled in American letters across numerous genres. Her work marks history and speaks as clearly and relevantly to issues at large today as when she first wrote it. Did you hear President Obama state, “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” back in 2008? Well, that’s a June Jordan quote right there! The book will be released September 2017.
How has involving interns, volunteers, and community members helped AJB?
Interns, volunteers, and community members are the lifeblood of the press. They sustain and nourish us and are vital to the press’s daily work and existence. Interns at AJB participate in such an enormous amount of what we do, and help in all areas of the press from advertising and publicity to development and editorial work. As we are teaching them, they are constantly teaching us new ways to accomplish our aims, bringing key ideas to the table, and inspiring us to entrust them with principle projects. Two of our current staff members, Alyssa Neptune (managing editor) and Darrian Church (editorial assistant) interned at AJB. I honestly don’t know where we would be without them, and when they began working here as staff members, the knowledge they carried in with them from their internships made their transitions virtually seamless (Doesn’t hurt they’re both amazing, either!)
Alice James Books
114 Prescott Street
Farmington, ME 04938