Coffee House Press announced Friday that it is adding essay collections and creative nonfiction to its publishing program. The Minneapolis nonprofit, founded in 1984, is renowned for its literary fiction and poetry lists, including National Book Award finalist for poetry, Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith (2008) and for fiction, I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita (2010).
While the press has published nonfiction titles in the past, including Kao Kalia Yang’s memoir, The Late Homecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, and Judith Kitchen’s essay collection, Half in Shade, the decision to formally add essays and creative nonfiction to the publishing program is a "deliberate one in service of [our] mission," said Coffee House publisher Chris Fischbach.
"Coffee House has always been interested in hybrid forms of literature, and work that bends and defies genre categories," Fischbach explained. "I look at [the essay form] as a kind of ‘open field’ for intellectual exploration and discovery. It’s a genre where writers and thinkers can spread their wings, take risks, and dig deep into both fact and fiction in order to uncover larger truths (or larger lies)."
This fall Coffee House will release nine titles, three of which will be essay collections and creative fiction: Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow, an essay collection by Minneapolis "flaneur" Andy Sturdevant; The Devil’s Snake Curve by Josh Ostergaard, a creative nonfiction exploration of baseball in America; and The Golden Greek, an experimental memoir by Eleni Sikelianos. An essay collection by Mexican author Valeria Luiselli, Sidewalks, will be released in spring 2014.
Coffee House timed this news to coincide with its first day of its biannual two-month reading period for open submissions, so as to, according to publicist Kelsey Shanesy, "encourage essay writers to consider us as a potential home for their work."