After launching a Kickstarter campaign two days before Alabama passed legislation severely restricting abortion rights, author Annie Finch and her publisher, Haymarket Books, well-known for its list of left-wing political books, easily surpassed the $10,500 they needed to pay the permission fees required to reprint some of the iconic essays contained in Choice Words: Writers on Abortion. Haymarket acquired Choice Words this past fall and has scheduled its release for 2020, although Haymarket publisher Julie Fain told PW that the press would publish it sooner if it could due to its “unexpected topicality” in the news cycle.
Haymarket "adored" the book when it was submitted to the press for consideration, noted Fain, "But we knew the permissions would be daunting," hence the Kickstarter campaign.
"It's the political moment," Fain said, "abortion long ago entered the political and cultural realms. Poetry and fiction opens it up to an audience that we want to have access to those ideas [contained in the anthology]." Choice Words, edited by Finch, includes fiction, poetry, and literary essays, including classic writings by Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lord, Lucille Clifton, Amy Tan, Gloria Steinem, Ursula Le Guin, Joyce Carole Oates, Gloria Naylor, and others.
Haymarket Books and Finch have now extended the Kickstarter campaign and raised the stakes: the goal now is to raise $18,000 so that copies of Choice Words can be donated to reproductive health service providers in the 10 states where elected officials are threatening to restrict or even eliminate abortion rights (Alabama, Georgia, Montana, Indiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Utah, Tennessee, and Ohio).
As of this morning, the Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $12,000 from 319 backers, 72 of whom had never backed a Kickstarter campaign before. There are 21 days left in the extended campaign.
Choice Words was, Finch says, 20 years in the making, inspired by her own abortion at age 43 a year after bearing her second child. When she searched for books to understand her own experience more deeply, she was “astounded to discover that there was no collection of important poetry and fiction about one of the most profound experiences in my life and that of millions of others.”