UPK & Hindman Launch Appalachian Literary Imprint

In conjunction with their 75th Anniversary, the University of Kentucky Press and Hindman Settlement School collaborated to create the press’s first literary imprint, Fireside Industries.

The name harkens to the school’s historical investment in the region. Founders May Stone and Katherine Pettit took a deep interest in the crafts of the region and developed the Fireside Industries Department at the school to sell highly skilled, artisan craft products to people outside the region. With the creation of the literary imprint under the same name, the spirit of sharing Appalachia craftsmanship continues.

As an imprint, Fireside Industries functions as a subsidiary of the university press. For Hindman, a literary imprint furthers its mission through republishing older works while also creating a publishing home to newer Appalachian writers. Editor Rebecca Gayle Howell explained, “Because the national publishing arena has been rarely interested in authentic Appalachian stories, books that are actually written by those who live here have rarely found editors and publishers with the resources needed to bring a book to a large readership.” As Hindman Settlement School seeks to raise up the voices of past and future Appalachia, going forward, Howell hopes that the press produces landmark books within the Appalachian literary tradition, and that these new and reprinted works of Appalachian literature educate future generations of writers in the region.

In its first year (2019), Fireside Industries re-published The Quare Women by Lucy Furman, Hindman’s first Writer-in-Residence, and published For the Hog Killing, 1979 by Tanya Berry. Tanya, wife of Wendell Berry, has largely, but often invisibly, influenced eco-literature as a first reader and editor of her husband’s work. On publishing Tanya Berry’s first title, Howell commented, “We are very proud to lift her up as an artist in her own right, releasing the first title under her name.”

Plans for 2020 include a republication of George Ella Lyon’s children’s book about Florence Reese’s classic union song, Which Side Are You On?, with a new foreword. The next new selection is a novel by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle entitled Even As We Breathe. This will be the first novel ever published by a member of the Cherokee Eastern Band.

How can you be a part of this new venture? If you are a librarian or a teacher consider adding Fireside Industries titles to your collection and encourage students to read them.These titles are available in our online store at hindman.org, through the University Press of Kentucky, and through your local bookseller. Through sharing the stories of the past and today, the complex conversation of Appalachia values and identity continues into the 21st Century