Jackson Adams and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP. Today they share their thoughts about a few upcoming titles they’re particularly excited about as readers. The books in this discussion will be published in November.
Anna Weir: One of my favorite parts of working in university publishing is that I’m always learning, particularly about significant people in history finally getting the attention they deserve. Linda M. Waggoner gives Lilian St. Cyr her due in Starring Red Wing!.
A graduate (read: survivor) of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1902, St. Cyr clung to her Ho-Chunk identity and refashioned into an acting career and a platform for dedicated activism. As David Luhrssen writes in a recent review for Shepherd Express, “Whether portraying a romanticized version of Native womanhood or crafting artifacts for the tourist trade, St. Cyr found ways of turning her ethnicity (and gender) into an opportunity for financial independence. While maintaining her dignity, she knew what her white audience wanted.”
Jackson Adams: Much like you, Anna, one of my favorite things about working at the press is learning from our authors’ richly detailed books. Until recently, baijiu, one of China’s most iconic liquors was something I knew nothing about. Thanks to Derek Sandhaus and Drunk in China, I feel like there’s a whole new world I need to explore. Sandhaus tracks the drink’s history and puts it in a contemporary context, showcasing what makes a liquor almost unheard of in the West so valued and important today, especially as baijiu becomes much more widely accessible.
AW: Another little known figure in America’s past is public defender and Creek Indian Elliott Howe. When Buster Youngwolfe (Cherokee) recanted his confession to a young girl’s brutal murder, saying he was forced by the authorities to confess, Howe risked his career to defend a man the rest of Tulsa was prepared to condemn. The 1953 story made headlines nationwide and is revisited now by Howe’s grandson Hunter Howe Cates in Oklahoma’s Atticus. It’s both a piece of America’s history and a family history penned for the ages.
JA: One of the challenges in constantly working with new books is trying to bring attention to classic titles that sometimes have trouble finding a contemporary audience. I think our new paperback of Willa Cather’s classic April Twilights succeeds in putting one of Nebraska’s best known authors back on the radar of a reading public who should never overlook her. Cather expert Robert Thacker’s new introduction perfectly puts Cather in a context where her literary contributions feel even more necessary.
Tune in next month for more reading suggestions from your friendly neighborhood publicists!