Author Archives: Kaitlin Svabek

University Press Week 2019 Friday Blog Tour: How to Practice Compassion

Happy University Press Week 2019! Continue the blog tour by visiting these great university press offerings that illuminate the role of university presses in moving national and international conversations forward on critical and complex issues:

  • Beacon Press sits down for a Q&A with Peter Jan Honigsberg, author of A Place Outside the Law: Forgotten Voices from Guantánamo.
  • Bucknell University Press offers a guest post from author Jason Farr, author of Novel Bodies: Disability and Sexuality in Eighteentgh-Century British Literature.
  • Columbia University Press shares a guest blog post from Elizabeth Segal on how social empathy can help you become a more compassionate person.
  • Penn State University Press editor-in-chief discusses how their Graphic Medicine series can catalyze the practice of compassion.
  • University of Illinois Press features their new Transformations series, radically committed to transformative approaches to knowledge production and social justice.
  • University of Nebraska Press includes an excerpt on compassion from The Heart of Torah by Rabbi Shai Held.
  • University of South Carolina Press quotes from Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement about the importance of inclusivity and support within a diverse queer community.
  • University of Toronto Press acquiring editor Natalie Fingerhut will delve into their new imprint, New Jewish Press, exploring the importance of compassion and empathy.
  • University of Washington Press‘s M’Bilia Meekers and Julie Fergus have a conversation about the intersections between compassion, emotional intelligence, and marketing university press books.

University Press Week 2019 Thursday Blog Tour: How to Build Community

Happy University Press Week 2019! Continue the blog tour by visiting these great university press offerings that illuminate the role of university presses in moving national and international conversations forward on critical and complex issues:

  • Athabasca University Press shares three books that offer tools for building and sustaining community.
  • Columbia University Press reviews eight titles about New York City communities.
  • Georgetown University Press explores their new mission statement and the importance of local and global communities of readers.
  • Johns Hopkins University Press writes about Lawrence Brown’s forthcoming The Black Butterfly: Why We Must Make Black Neighborhoods Matter and considers how scholarly publishing can be a form of activism.
  • MIT Press talks about how the MIT Press Bookstore uniquely sits at the intersection of publishing, scholarship, authors, and community.
  • Princeton University Press highlights some of the new ways Princeton University Press has focused on community building.
  • Syracuse University Press features a guest post from Sean Kirst, the bestselling author of The Soul of Central New York.
  • Temple University Press showcases their new book, Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia, and how it fostered community building.
  • University of Michigan Press posts on how they have been creating and developing community around digital humanities scholarship which needs engagement from authors, readers, publishers, and libraries.
  • University of Nebraska Press author Katya Cengel writes on how learning & telling the stories of others can build community.
  • University of North Carolina Press hosts a Q&A with Lana Dee Povitz, author of Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice.
  • University of Toronto Press discusses building a community for the Journal of Scholarly Publishing as part of its 50th anniversary.
  • University Press of Kansas describes working with local companies to increase awareness of the press and support independent breweries, bookstores, shops and a new literary festival.
  • Vanderbilt University Press looks at a local organization that they are partnering with—the Nashville Adult Literacy Council—and the ways it actively builds a community of learners and volunteers.

University Press Week 2019 Wednesday Blog Tour: How to Be an Environmental Steward

Happy University Press Week 2019! Continue the blog tour by visiting these great university press offerings that illuminate the role of university presses in moving national and international conversations forward on critical and complex issues:

  • Bucknell University Press highlights a guest post by Tim Wenzell on why ecocriticism makes us better stewards of nature.
  • Columbia University Press shares tips from the author of Live Sustainably Now about tips to decreasing your carbon footprint.
  • Duke University Press hosts a round table to answer the a question about one thing that more people need to understand about the current global climate crisis.
  • Oregon State University Press author Marcy Cottrell Houle discusses the conservationists and activists who have been instrumental in preserving Oregon’s natural treasures.
  • University of California Press posts an excerpt from Sarah Jaquette Ray’s forthcoming book, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety.
  • University of Minnesota Press previews Red Gold by Jennifer Telesca, on the managed extinction of the giant bluefin tuna.
  • University of Pittsburgh Press author Patricia Demarco has written about four simple ways that every person can become an environmental steward.
  • University of South Carolina Press features photos from the authors of Carolina Bays about preservation of these unique ecological systems.
  • University of Toronto Press sales rep Alex Keys will discuss the ways in which he is able to merge his job with his desire to be a better steward for the environment.
  • University Press of Mississippi presents an essay from Jessica H. Schexnayder, author of Fragile Grounds: Louisiana’s Endangered Cemeteries.
  • Yale University Press talks to authors connected with A Better Planet about actionable steps to help the environment.

University Press Week 2019 Tuesday Blog Tour: How to Speak Up and Speak Out

Happy University Press Week 2019! Continue the blog tour by visiting these great university press offerings that illuminate the role of university presses in moving national and international conversations forward on critical and complex issues:

  • Fordham University Press features a post from Joan Marans Dim, writer, historian, and co-author of Lady Liberty: An Illustrated History of America’s Most Storied Woman.
  • For Harvard Education Press, Tracey Benson, co-author of Unconscious Bias in Schools, writes about speaking out about racism and education.
  • Northwestern University Press blogs about Lee Bey’s Southern Exposure, a look at Chicago South Side architecture that also illuminates the caustic effects of disinvestment in the area.
  • Syracuse University Press shares insights from Kelly Belanger, the author of Invisible Seasons Title IX and the Fight for Equity in College Sports.
  • University of Arizona Press is running a post on Roberto Rodriguez’s new book, inspired by his own experience with police violence.
  • University of British Columbia Press posts an excerpt of From Where I Stand by Jody Wilson-Raybould, a politician and Indigenous Canadian speaking on Indigenous Reconciliation and self-determination.
  • University of Nebraska Press offers a guest post from Tim Hillegonds, author of The Distance Between.
  • University of Regina Press highlights recent publications that show resistance against power in action.
  • University of South Carolina Press author Will Gravely will talk about how to call out racism.
  • University of Toronto Press Journals division staff share why they chose Publons to support the peer review community and ensure peer reviewers are publicly recognized for their work.

#ReadUP on Global Citizenship

For University Press Week 2019, we are highlighting a collection of books and journal articles that provide insight and comprehensive perspectives on global topics. Whether challenging the conversation around the representations of women in Africa, addressing the role of public presentation in papering over an unchanging power dynamic, or working for social justice by documenting the considerable benefits of early life Medicaid coverage, these authors are helping to shift the conversation towards more equitable and sustainable policies for all.

Holding the World Together Book Cover

In Holding the World Together, edited by Nwando Achebe and Claire Robertson, contributions from leading scholars focus on agency and avoid stereotypical depictions of African women, reframing the way we think about what we know and how we know it. Essays provide critical perspectives on representation, women’s roles in national liberation movements, and their unique challenges in the areas of health and disease.

“The field of African women’s and gender studies is more than abstractly engaged in the daily lives of those it studies, delineating contemporary political, economic, and social implications of African realities. Thus, our changing perspectives are driven not just by, for instance, the desire to contest ongoing negative stereotypes, but also by contemporary history. Recent African women’s and gender scholarship has emphasized political activism and women’s empowerment, in line with rising political power by women in some countries. Researchers join the subjects of their studies in seeking improvements in the situations of ordinary African women in a variety of contexts. Driving this activist impulse is the perception (and reality) that many African women face increasing threats to their well-being with respect to legal, political, economic, and social factors. Decisions made elsewhere in the world capitalist economy often distort African local economies, and political agency and choices are curtailed by outside pressures, corruption, and an electorate often with little formal education. Economies falter in the face of man-made and natural disasters and political corruption, while a rapid pace of social change involving urbanization, social and geographical dislocations, and religious movements fosters innovations in forms of organization. Contributors engage these issues as they relate to women and gender in Africa, paying particular attention to changing notions of gender identity and African women’s perceptions.” (Achebe & Robertson, 8)


How do you motivate parents to spend more time reading to their children? In the article “Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together Intervention” from the Journal of Human Resources, Susan E. Mayer, Ariel Kalil, Philip Oreopoulos, and Sebastian Gallegos designed an experiment using a digital library on an electronic tablet. The program used behavioral tools (“reminders, goal-setting, and social rewards”) to more than double the amount of time parents spent reading to their children over a six-week period. If such interventions can increase parental engagement in disadvantaged families, they could go a long way toward bridging the skills gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children, a gap that can be observed even before children start school, and which persists throughout school years.


Joanna Allan reveals how authoritarian regimes in Equatorial Guinea and Morocco, in partnership with Western states and corporations, create a public perception of promoting equality while simultaneously undermining women’s rights in order to cash in on natural resources. Silenced Resistance brings awareness to this genderwashing, and how it plays an integral role in determining the composition of public resistance to authoritarian regimes.

  • Silenced Resistance Cover Image
  • Woman sitting near building
  • Women standing in a marketplace

“Sultana could hear the tourists outside chattering and laughing, spectators to Marrakesh’s most famous square. . . . It is easy to miss the architectural understatement of the low-rise, beige Police Commission that sits anemically in one corner of the Djemaa el Fna square. The building’s ability to merge blandly into the background is opportune for the Moroccan regime, which shows a heavily made-up face to the country’s visitors. The Anglophone guidebooks are an ally to Morocco. They make the best of the story of how the Djemaa el Fna (Assembly of the Dead) got its name: ‘heretics’ and ‘criminals’ were tortured here centuries ago, says Lonely Planet. Centuries ago. If the hint of a scream was today to escape from the commission, it would have to fight for attention with the hammers of souq ironmongers, the clashing brass cups of the water carriers, the squeals of dancing monkeys, or the supernatural drone of the snake charmers hypnotizing the guidebook writers. Incidentally, the mouths of many charmed cobras are sewn shut.” (Allan, 3-4)


The United States’ current energy policy attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enforcing standards on the transportation and electricity sectors, promoting the use of renewable fuels. Another possible approach is a carbon tax, which would impose a fee for burning carbon-based fuels. In their article “What Is the Cost of a Renewable Energy–Based Approach to Greenhouse Gas Mitigation?” from Land Economics, Anthony Oliver and Madhu Khanna compare the existing regulations with this alternative, determining that the global emissions reduction achieved by a carbon tax is more than 50% higher than the current policy.


This month, we publish Elusive Justice, Donny Meertens’s new book on the restoration of land rights in Colombia during its transition to peace. There were significant challenges in making the promise of the Victims and Land Restitution Law real for rural women. Meertens contends that women’s advocacy organizations must have a prominent role in overseeing transitional policies in order to create a more just society.

“The three themes of this book—land restitution, gender equity, and reparations—are part of the historical roots of the conflict and core elements of the peace process. . . . Gender equity and redress for the specific forms of violence inflicted on women have been recognized by government and rebels as necessary for building a more inclusive democracy in a postconflict society. Justice, in its multiple forms and interpretations (from criminal to social, from official system to subjective experience), constitutes the backbone of a lasting peace.” (Meertens, 6)


 In “The Long-Term Effects of Early Life Medicaid Coverage” from the Journal of Human Resources, Sarah Miller and Laura R. Wherry study individuals who gained access to Medicaid coverage while in utero and during the first year of life through an expansion of Medicaid that occurred from 1979 to 1993. Because this early period is crucial to development, the authors found that the impacts of this policy shift continued into adulthood, with the cohort experiencing “lower rates of chronic conditions…and fewer hospitalizations related to diabetes and obesity,” as well as increased high school graduation rates.


2019 #SeptWomenPoets Book Giveaway!

Poet Shara Lessley launched the #SeptWomenPoets hashtag (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) as a way to create an online book club where readers share selections and covers from books by women poets. The challenge has encouraged readers to showcase and discuss some of their favorite poems and poets across social media. Here are some University of Wisconsin Press collections we encourage you to consider for your #SeptWomenPoets TBR pile:

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We are giving away a set of debut collections by two of the talented female poets published in the Wisconsin Poetry Series edited by Ronald Wallace and Sean Bishop (entry form and guidelines below).

One winner will receive an advance copy of these forthcoming titles:

Enter your email address in the form below before October 4th for a chance to win!

University of Wisconsin Press welcomes Business and Operations Manager

The University of Wisconsin Press is pleased to announce that Lisa Learish has joined our staff as business and operations manager.

Photo by Paul L. Newby, II

Learish will serve as a key member of the management team at the press, overseeing the business and human resources processes in addition to coordinating budgets for books, journals, and publication services. An accomplished financial officer, she most recently held the role of senior accountant at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Business, where she provided direct fiscal support to departments, improved processes for data collection and audits, and created a unified budget.

In more than twenty years of service to the university, Learish has also worked in the Division of Recreational Sports, the Division of Business Services, and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“We are thrilled to have Lisa bring her wealth of experience to the University of Wisconsin Press,” says director Dennis Lloyd. “Her business acumen will be valuable as we embark upon a long-awaited review of our overall strategic plans.”

Says Learish, “I am really looking forward to becoming the newest member of the press family. I am so excited to work with each member of this amazing team!”

Also this month, the University of Wisconsin Press has moved back on campus for the first time in twenty-two years. The new offices are located on the fourth floor of Memorial Library. We look forward to seeing you around campus!

About the University of Wisconsin Press
The University of Wisconsin Press is a not-for-profit publisher of books and journals. With nearly 1,500 titles and over 8,000 peer-reviewed articles in print, its mission embodies the Wisconsin Idea by publishing work of distinction that serves the people of Wisconsin and the world.

In appreciation of mentors

This week’s blog tour celebrates our colleagues across the university publishing community. Dennis Lloyd, director of the University of Wisconsin Press, reflects on the early lessons he learned from his mentors.

Earlier this spring, the university press world was rattled when the news spread that we had lost Mark Saunders, director of the University of Virginia Press. I never had the privilege of working with Mark, but I’ve known him so long I can no longer remember when we first met. My earliest memory of an extended conversation with him—about publishing, yes, but also life, books we were reading, our kids—was during booth set up for BEA in the late 1990s.

At lunch we walked a few blocks down Eleventh Avenue (this was long before the High Line) and found a diner. I don’t remember the specifics of our conversation, but I do remember how intently Mark listened, how carefully he commented, how enthusiastically he replied, how wisely he offered advice. We ate, we paid, and it was only weeks later that I realized we had somehow each signed the others’ credit card receipt. Neither of us ever were charged on our bills; it was a gift from the universe. But the real gift, of course, was the time spent with Mark.

As so many friends and colleagues of mine prepare to gather this week for the Association of University Presses Annual Meeting, Mark’s premature departure from our community has me thinking of and remembering all those who helped me along the way, especially during the early years of my career, as I made the shift from PhD student (still proudly ABD by choice) to publishing professional.

In particular, I’m thinking a lot these days about my first two bosses at the University of Illinois Press, Judith McCulloh and David Perkins. Judy passed away a few years ago, and David left university publishing (though he has a book scheduled to appear soon), but rarely does a day pass that I don’t think about the lessons I learned from them.

My first job in university press publishing, which I started in June 1993, was as Judy’s acquisitions assistant. We had email, but most correspondence still took place via letter and snail mail. On my first day, I was assigned the daunting task of catching up on her filing when I was given a cubic foot of paper. I was told to read everything I filed, make sure I put things into the proper folder, and to take the time to read around in the files of anything that piqued my curiosity. I diligently set about doing so, and after two or three weeks reported that I had finally finished. She gently quizzed me about the task, asking what I thought about various projects at different stages of development, and eventually announced something to the effect of, “Good. Now you can answer any questions that might come up when I’m traveling.” It was years later before I realized this was my “Wax on, wax off” moment, and even longer before I fully appreciated how quickly, deeply, and easily she immersed me into the culture of university press publishing. I’ve never forgotten it—even though I’ve yet to find a way to perfectly emulate that experience for new acquisitions assistants in the era of email.

About a year later, I made the shift to sales and marketing, when I became the advertising manager at the University of Illinois Press. This was my first full-time job (apart from summers on the farm, weed-eating roadbanks at a country club, or waiting tables as a singing waiter), and David taught me many lessons large and small about working in an office, about finding my voice, about assuming agency, about making decisions—in short about making the transition from a student to an adult. I still remember him encouraging me to play the role of good cop and casting him as bad cop (when necessary) in negotiating for rates and discounts. He told the story—and he didn’t invent it, but it was the first time I had heard it—that if everyone in the world could put all their troubles in a paper bag, and set it on a fence at the far end of a field. But then we all lined up and were told we had to pick up a paper bag—then we’d shove, stomp, and run over each other to get our own bag back. He was also the first person I ever heard say, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I don’t always succeed, but I strive to remember this every day.

So thank you, Judy. Thank you, David. Thank you, Mark. And thank you everyone else along the way (including the portions of the journey yet to come) who helped me become the person I am today.

Thank you to my mentors and to all mentors, for fostering the spirit, intelligence, generosity, curiosity, and passion that makes our corner of the industry a community—a whole greater than the sum of its parts.  Ours is an amazingly supportive organization, and at each Annual Meeting I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

29th Annual Midwest Book Award Winners for UW Press titles

We are thrilled to announce two Midwest Book Award winners from the University of Wisconsin Press! These awards from the Midwest Independent Publishing Association (MIPA) recognize quality in independent publishing in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).

Death Rides the Ferry cover imageDeath Rides the Ferry by Patricia Skalka won the Fiction–Mystery/Thriller category. The fourth book in the Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery series finds Sheriff Dave Cubiak enjoying a rare day off as tourists and a documentary film crew hover around the newly-revived Viola da Gamba Music Festival, back after a forty-year hiatus. A passenger is found dead on a ferry, and longtime residents recall the disastrous festival decades earlier, when a woman died and a valuable sixteenth-century instrument—the fabled yellow viol—vanished. Sheriff Cubiak is sent on a trail of murder, kidnapping, and false identity. With the lives of those he holds most dear in peril, the sheriff pursues a ruthless killer into the stormy northern reaches of Lake Michigan.

Eleven Miles to Oshkosh cover imageEleven Miles to Oshkosh by Jim Guhl won the category for Fiction-Young Adult. The story centers on the coming-of-age of Del “Minnow” Finwick, whose small world in Wisconsin has blown apart. His father, a deputy sheriff, has been murdered by the unknown “Highway 41 Killer.” His mom has unraveled. And a goon named Larry Buskin has been pummeling Minnow behind Neenah High. When the sheriff seems in no hurry to solve the murder, Minnow must seek justice by partnering with unlikely allies and discovering his own courage.

 

Congratulations again to the authors and all involved! To celebrate, we are giving away a a copy of both award-winning books to one (1) lucky entrant:

University of Wisconsin Press Welcomes New Editor in Chief

photo of Nathan MacBrienThe University of Wisconsin Press is pleased to announce that Nathan MacBrien will join our staff as the editor in chief, effective June 3, 2019.

MacBrien, most recently a special projects editor at Northwestern University Press, will oversee the University of Wisconsin Press book acquisitions department, including managing the list of publications. An accomplished editor, he held various acquisitions roles at the University of Pittsburgh Press and Stanford University Press. For eight years he served as the publications director for the Division of International and Area Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he established and directed the Global, Area, and International Archive (GAIA), a peer-reviewed imprint publishing new titles in the social sciences and area studies.

With more than twenty years of experience, MacBrien has valuable expertise in the publishing process. While at Northwestern University Press, he managed the editing and production of thirty-five new books each year.

“I am delighted that Nathan will be joining the University of Wisconsin Press,” says director Dennis Lloyd. “In his career he has earned the respect of his colleagues and authors in a range of fields, and his keen ability to shape both a manuscript and a list are skills that will benefit us greatly as we implement the long-planned refocus of our acquisitions output.”

Says MacBrien, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the talented staff at the press. This is an exciting and challenging time for university presses, and I look forward to the work of shaping the press’s list, both to reflect the changing tides in publishing and to ensure that we continue to publish the best books for our communities of readers in Wisconsin and worldwide.”

About the University of Wisconsin Press
The University of Wisconsin Press, one of the research and service centers housed within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is a not-for-profit publisher of books and journals. With nearly 1,500 titles in print, its mission embodies the Wisconsin Idea by publishing work of distinction that serves the people of Wisconsin and the world.