Scholarly publishers in the Midwest, like their counterparts in other regions, have expanded their lists beyond the academic market, and are acquiring books that appeal to general readers, including biography, literary fiction, history, and poetry, as well as regional interest titles. Such “crossover” titles vary not just from state to state, but from publisher to publisher. Northwestern University Press still releases strong cultural criticism titles, like Sex Work, Text Work: Mapping Prostitution in the Nineteenth-Century French Novel, but it also publishes literary fiction, such as As If She Had a Say.
At Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, the list hews more closely to traditional academic guidelines, with history, botany and criminology often tied to regional interests, such as the recently released Mary Lincoln Demystified. The University of Illinois Press also tends toward the academic, with strong offerings in Black studies, labor history, and musicology, such as Workers of All Colors Unite and A House for the Struggle.
At Wayne State University Press in Detroit, which calls itself “a distinctive urban publisher,” the list mixes current scholarship—such as Memory Spaces about Jewish women’s graphic narratives—with poetry and fiction, including Enough to Lose and the poetry collection The Second Stop Is Jupiter. “We hold the range and depth of our list as a point of pride,” says director Stephanie Williams. “Our Made in Michigan series, for example, includes poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction works across a range of forms, modes, and styles. Most exciting to me as a Stephanie and as a Black woman is the opportunity to work with Stephanies Evans, Shonekan, and Adams on the timely Dear Department Chair: Letters from Black Women Leaders to the Next Generation.”
In East Lansing, Michigan State University Press publishes many books about the environment and the natural world, such as Great Women of Mackinac, 1800–1950 and the novel Wiijiwaaganag: More Than Brothers. At the University of Michigan Press in Ann Arbor, titles lean toward narrow, serious topics for many different fields of study, from the classics to modern languages to video game theory, including 2023’s Toward a Gameic World by Ben Whaley and Writing on the Soil.
The Minnesota Historical Society Press, headquartered in St. Paul, showcases Minnesota and the Upper Midwest with cookbooks, memoirs, and history, many of them centered on regional concerns, like Minescapes and Wild Things: A Trans-Glam-Punk-Rock Love Story. The University of Minnesota Press has The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman, who was featured in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2023.” Other titles of strong ALA interest include Earth Ice Blood Bone and The Last Supper Club.
Kent State University Press in Kent, Ohio, offers a mix of highly specialized academic titles in fields such as African American studies and social science, including Fraternal Light: Painting While Black and Dressing à la Turque. However, those fields have expanded to include a book on the barrier-breaking comic strip Funky Winkerbean, as well as one on true crime that involves murder with a potato masher.
With a mission to focus on its region’s “history, diversity, culture, and environment,” Ohio State University Press in Columbus releases many essay collections and works of fiction with ties to the Housatonic area, especially as part of its Trillium imprint. A few of its standout 2023 titles are Growing Up Graphic, Asian American Players and Safe in a Midwife’s Hands.
Ohio University Press in Athens was established in 1947 and is known for a serious list with strengths in books relating to the Midwest, Appalachia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Swallow Press, acquired in 2008 by Ohio University Press, reprints many classics besides offering new releases. Afrofuturisms and Collective Chaos are among the press’s latest releases.
In Madison, the University of Wisconsin Press has myriad series and journals that support scholars in areas that include African studies, Jewish studies, and books about the Upper Midwest. Its spring 2023 offerings include Radium Girl poetry collection as well as Charlottengrad: Russian Culture in Weimar Berlin. Less than a mile away are the offices of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, which has been publishing since 1855. It continues to release relevant works like The Flavor of Wisconsin and A History in Indigenous Voices, the latter a title that should appeal to librarians seeking to further diversify their collections.