Concerned about what they regard as an artificial divide between fiction and nonfiction, the distinguished writers and determined political activists Grace Paley and Robert Nichols, ages 78 and 81, respectively, decided to establish a publishing cooperative to encourage the writing of books that contain elements of both.
Last year the two began publishing under the Glad Day Books imprint from their home in Thetford, Vt. "Grace and I both know of other writers," said Nichols, "who have literary books turned down because they have too much political stuff in them, and have their political books turned down because they have too much literary stuff."
"We're publishing books that big publishers can't publish, won't publish and are afraid of losing money on," added Paley, a past nominee for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. "Even small publishers feel that they can't reprint certain books," she said. "So we're also going after certain reprints."
Although Nichols's own novel Travels in Altai is on the first list, the couple is not out to showcase their own writing. Paley, whose poetry and fiction has long been published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is quick to note, "we didn't start this thinking of ourselves." Other titles from Glad Day include Eva Kollisch's memoir, Girl in Movement; Barbara Selfridge's collection of stories, Serious Kissing; Gerry Albarelli's stories about teaching in a yeshiva, Teacha!; and Kenneth Rexroth's political poems, Swords That Shall Not Strike.
For now, Paley and Nichols plan to keep the year-old press small. Typical first printings of the nine titles that they have published to date range from 300 to 500 copies. "We're really quite modest," acknowledged Paley, who would like to concentrate on distribution and publish even fewer titles over the coming year. "Recently, we realized we had to have a strategy," said Nichols. "Our model would be Curbstone in the kinds of books they do. They have ideas, politically and socially."
Booksellers can order Glad Day Books from Enfield Distribution Company in Enfield, N.H. Call (888) 876-6904 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.