What's #NextUP in publishing?
Ellen Bauerle, Executive Editor at University of Michigan Press, offers some insight on what’s #NextUP in her acquisitions pipeline.
Among the joys of acquiring books at a university press is working with the new. New authors, new books, new ideas, and the presentation of those in new ways. As a result, being an acquisitions editor means always thinking about what is #NextUP, and for me that includes our forthcoming series Greek / Modern Intersections, edited by Artemis Leontis, CP Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. The series is just launching now with its first book, Specters of Cavafy, by Maria Boletsi (University of Amsterdam). Maria is investigating spectrality in the works of Constantine Cavafy, the best poet of modern Greece, though he spent most of his life as an expatriate in Egypt. As one peer reviewer put it, her work examines “not only the presence of ghosts, apparitions, and shadows in Cavafy’s work but also how his oeuvre haunts our current time.”
Cavafy photographed in Alexandria, 1929.
Source: C. P. Cavafy Archives - Onassis Foundation
As someone who speaks to our present world, Cavafy is a particularly strong starting point for the series. His expatriate status is typical of the lives of millions of Greeks, in past centuries and now. The very fact of the country and culture’s massive diaspora—both voluntary and not—means a series like Greek / Modern Intersections can give voice to key scholars who are examining modern Greek culture and letters, and who are helping to weave the diasporic community into the culture and history of the United States, among other new homes. Like many new communities, immigrant Greeks have not always been warmly welcomed to the table, and a series like Greek / Modern Intersections can shine a bright light on the many ideas, theoretical constructs, themes, and brilliant works that Greek and Greek-adjacent writers have to offer their new neighbors.
Of course, the Greek diaspora is only one of many such to consider, as similar large communities grow around expatriate peoples and cultures from Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Those groups are also coming to the fore in the UP community, publishing innovative books and establishing series that showcase their own creative works and cultural values. The uninformed may think of university presses as staid producers of works on the North Atlantic fishing fleet in the 1850s. However, our lived reality is a lively, rapidly changing community, where each day’s mail brings interesting concepts and scholars yet unheard, whom we can help to claim their voice.
Ellen Bauerle is Executive Editor for Classics and Archaeology, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and African Studies at University of Michigan Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.