In our new Indie Press Corner series, we talk with awesome presses about the important work they do. It is all part of our mission to support emerging writers. We are grateful to be a part of such a vibrant literary community. We’re psyched to present the inaugural installment of this series: an interview with Christine Stroud, Editor in Chief of Autumn House Press. Autumn House is a nonprofit, Pittsburgh-based press with a twenty-year record of outstanding work.
“As a nonprofit, we are able to publish books we believe will have an impact on a greater audience, books that will make some kind of difference. The editors at AHP have the opportunity to work on books and with authors they have a deep interest in.”
What is your editorial process like?
We work closely with our authors, and we’d like to think of our editorial process as a collaborative partnership. Each author works directly with one AHP editor, who serves as their production editor. After the book is accepted, the production editor will offer large content edits—focusing on how the book is working as a whole. We’ll consider how the manuscript is arranged, how dynamic the language is, how cohesive the theme and subthemes are working, etc. While an author works primarily with one editor, all of our editors and interns help in the production of the book.
What is one of your favorite things about being an indie press?
We sort of touched on some of this in the previous question, but I think it’s about the relationships we’re able to have within the office and with our authors. As a nonprofit, we are able to publish books we believe will have an impact on a greater audience, books that will make some kind of difference. The editors at AHP have the opportunity to work on books and with authors they have a deep interest in.
What are some of your favorite other indie presses?
So many! As far as presses, Copper Canyon, Milkweed, Coffeehouse, Ahsahta Press, Pitt Press, Dzanc, Civil Coping Mechanisms, Wave, Greywolf, and Fence Books.
Journals: oh, The Masters Review! Also, Prairie Schooner, The Adroit Journal, The Sun, Forklift, Barrelhouse, Ninth Letter, and Ploughshares.
One of your recent titles is Carry You by Glori Simmons. We were thrilled to be able to publish “Night Vision,” a story from the collection, online this year. “Night Vision” deals with the war in Iraq and examines what happens when people are pushed up against moral lines. Other stories in the collection tackle these themes, as well. What was it like editing a collection of stories all with similar themes and preoccupations?
Yes, that’s a great story, and we were so happy you all published it! Carry You’s production editor had a background in novel writing, so the collection being so thematic and linked was a benefit to her. It was fun for us to work with Glori on ordering the stories and playing with the nonlinear narrative. Even though the central theme is war, the reader is taken a lot of places and given the ability to engage with several different perspectives. We all knew Glori’s book was important from the moment we read it. While so much has happened since the Iraq war, I think it’s important to remember, it wasn’t that long ago and it continues to have a lasting impact on so many people. The book is thoughtful and considerate, while never being didactic. I think Glori approached the subject matter with a lot of compassion and curiosity.
What cool new things can we expect to see from Autumn House Press soon?
We’re so excited about our Fall ’18 and Spring ’19 titles! This fall we’re releasing the newest poetry collection, Blue Mistaken for Sky by longtime AHP poet Andrea Hollander and Thank Your Lucky Stars by flash fiction master Sherrie Flick.
In the spring, we’re releasing Luxury, Blue Lace by S. Brook Corfman (winner of the 2018 Rising Writer Award, selected by Richard Siken). Luxury, Blue Lace is a more experimental collection of poetry than AHP typically publishes, and we’re excited about this new direction. We’re also releasing Anxious Attachments, an essay collection, by Beth Alvarado. We were already familiar with Beth’s essays before she submitted the book to us, and it’s been an honor to work with her on developing the collection. Finally, we’re also publishing Deliberately Lost by Chad Abushanab. His collection was the winner of the West Chester University Poetry Center’s Donald Justice Prize, selected by Jericho Brown. It’s a stunning debut collection, and we’re enjoying partnering with WCUPC on the project! In 2020, we’re releasing Hallelujah Station by Randal O’Wain, and you all actually just published a story from that collection!
In other news, we’re excited to announce that at the end of summer we’re releasing a new website for Autumn House as well as for our online lit journal, Coal Hill Review. And, beginning in 2019, our books will be distributed by University of Chicago Press allowing us to be in more indie bookstores!