PubWest has awarded its 2013 Jack D. Rittenhouse Award for long-lasting contributions to the Western book community to Jack Shoemaker, editorial director and vice president of Counterpoint Press.
“I’m truly pleased to welcome Jack into the company of Rittenhouse Award recipients,” said PubWest president Dave Trendler in a press release. The award is a lifetime achievement honor, which Shoemaker will accept during the PubWest 2013 conference scheduled for November 7-9 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Shoemaker began his literary career 40 years ago as a bookseller in Santa Barbara, Calif. and went on to own or manage several important bookshops and establish some of the most significant small literary presses in the country. From 1974 to 1978 he served on the Literature Panel of the National Endowment of the Arts, his last 18 months there as that panel’s chairman. In 1979 Shoemaker, with co-founder William Turnbull, launched the award-winning North Point Press and served as its editor-in-chief until the press closed in 1991. North Point authors won MacArthur Fellowships, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
When North Point closed, Shoemaker served as West Coast editor of the Knopf Publishing Group before founding Counterpoint Press in 1994. That eventually led to a partnership in 2007 with Charlie Winton in which a new press that includes Counterpoint, Soft Skull Press, and Sierra Club Books was established as Counterpoint Press. Since then, Shoemaker has published both new and backlist titles by Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, MFK Fisher, and Evan Connell in addition to many other authors.