A Public Space, the literary magazine founded in 2006 by former Paris Review editor Brigid Hughes that won the inaugural Whiting Literary Magazine Prize earlier this year, is launching a book publishing imprint, A Public Space Books. Publishers Group West will distribute both the new press's books and forthcoming issues of the magazine, as they do with a select few magazine-book combination publishers, including Freeman's.
The magazine previously had a publishing partnership with Graywolf Press, with whom it published works by such authors as Jamel Brinkley, John Haskell, and Dorthe Nors. The imprint, which will debut next year with Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, a collection of writings and correspondence by author and Saul Bellow protégée Bette Howland, is looking to publish four books a year at first. Other books in the inaugural group include a parallel translation of Italian artist Giorgio di Chirico’s unpublished poetry collection Geometry of Shadows and the work journals of British filmmaker Sally Potter.
“We had a wonderful time working with Graywolf and connecting some of the authors we had in the magazine with their press," Hughes said of the decision to start its own imprint. Howland's work provided the jumping-off point for that decision—Hughes said she realized that, if APS put out a book itself, it would give it "a little more freedom to go into different directions and try some new things."
The magazine has not hired any new full-time editorial or production staff for the venture, although Lauren Cerand, who was brought on as a publicist for the organization earlier this year, said the magazine will be relying on outside publicists for certain titles. Those publicists include Nicole Dewey, of Shreve Williams, who is working on the Howland campaign. Cerand added: "Obviously, for a book of poetry that's being published in English and Italian that's never appeared before anywhere, that's got a very specific audience."
The magazine, an independent nonprofit, relies primarily on individual donors and foundations for financial support. As for what kind of books the imprint can be expected to publish, they will likely skew literary, but will not be limited to any genre or form. "The books will grow out of the magazine, so we want very much to keep that eclectic spirit," Hughes said, adding: "If you've encountered any of the writers that have been published in the magazine, you know that it's a place for discovery, and the books are going to have that kind of identity as well."
Correction: This article previously misspelled Jamel Brinkley's first name.