The Marketeers Club: Good Books and Grief in 2022

Rosemary Sekora is the Publicity Manager and interim Marketing Manager for UNP. She finally received her master’s degree in English in August 2022.

This past year has been nothing short of a chaotic, exciting, and at times, devasting year.

UNP was proud to share that the critically-acclaimed backlist book, Black Elk Speaks, officially sold over 1 million copies.

Our new book bestsellers for 2022 were Night of BeginningsDo What They Say or ElseThe Umpire Is OutBleeding Green, Cotton CandyCitizen JusticeThe Fast RideConnected SoldiersCharlie MurphyKnocked Down, and Red Barber.

Our books were featured in Wall Street JournalNew York TimesNew Yorker, among others, and on CBS This Morning, the Chris Russo Show on MLB Network, and Morning Joe.

Many of our books were awarded prizes. Deer Season by Erin Flanagan won an Edger Allan Poe Award, and Forty Years a Giant won the Seymour Medal. Comeback Pitchers and Tony Lazzeri were both awarded the SABR Baseball Research Award.

The Forgotten Botanist won six awards alone.

The Rhinehart Frames was an NBCC Finalist and The Mummy Eaters was longlisted for the National Book Award. Your Crib, My Qibla won the Derek Walcott Prize. Regionally, our books took home three Nebraska book awards this year, two High Plains Book Awards, and one New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.

Our academic books were also big award-winners this year. Country of the Cursed and the Driven won two WHA prizes (W. Turrentine Jackson Award and the Weber Prize) and The Settler Sea won the Caughey Western History Prize.

Cree and Christian, Girl Archaeologist, The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere, and The Settler Sea were all named 2022 Choice Outstanding Academic Titles.

To cap off a great award year and kick off the next, True West Magazine just named UNP the Best University Press for 2023. And the Nebraska Center for the Book selected The Mystery of Hunting’s End as its 2023 One Book, One Nebraska program. This list is a great snapshot how many different subjects we support in our publishing program.

But as we celebrate our book successes and triumphs, we also want to acknowledge those that we have lost who have contributed to our success.

Important authors and members of our book community passed away in 2022: Jean Ardell, Roger Welsch, and Robert M. Utley, to name a few. Our marketing manager, Mark Heineke, passed away on July 24. His passing was a shock and we remember him fondly as we move forward promoting our books, oftentimes commenting on book publicity he would have loved (like Annie Ernaux winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, giving our translation of her work a healthy boost in sales—I know he would be obsessing about it like I am!).

This year has made me more aware of what happiness, thankfulness, and grief feel like. We all experience these three things—and as I have found out, sometimes all at once. In my personal life, my older brother died in a car accident on September 12. I miss him every day.

The support that UNP received after losing Mark, and the individual support I received after his death and my brother’s was tremendous. I will be forever thankful.

So thank you again to our authors and colleagues for supporting our books (and grieving hearts).

Cheers to a new year.

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