Chicago Review Press is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The Windy City publisher of adult nonfiction and children’s books will host a celebration at its booth inside the IPG pavilion (2527) today at 3 p.m. Cupcakes and champagne will be served. Also, during the celebration as well as throughout the show, CRP will hand out travel coffee mugs emblazoned with its signature chair logo.
CRP was founded in 1973 by Curt and Linda Matthews. Curt Matthews was a graduate student studying American literature at the University of Chicago at the time, and poetry editor of the Chicago Review journal (from which the name was borrowed) at the university. Operating initially out of their basement, the Matthewses published, that first year, contemporary Japanese poetry in translation, an experimental novel, and what might have been the first graphic novel: Prairie State Blues by Bill Bergeron.
“It was just a handful of books back then,” publisher Cynthia Sherry says. The press now has four imprints and publishes such books as Backyard Ballistics by William Gurstelle, Outwitting Squirrels by Bill Adler Jr., and My Bloody Life by former gang member Reymundo Sanchez; all three are perennial bestsellers. Plans are for 32 fall releases, including paperback and reprint editions.
Everyone knows that 40 is the new 30, and like any self-respecting 40-year-old, CRP intends to become even more provocative in the future, with “bigger, better” releases certain to empower readers, including Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving by Tim Hollister (Sept.) and Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween by Melissa Atkins Wardy (Jan. 2014).
“Backyard Ballistics and Outwitting Squirrels capture our press’s quirky side,” Sherry noted, “but we’ve never been afraid to take on controversial topics, too.”