Marc Berley, publisher of the literary magazine LitMag, is launching a new small press, Bard Books, with two titles from storied literary fiction editor Gordon Lish. To Have Written a Book and Annals and Indices will be published on April 23 and June 26, respectively.

The press, according to a release, is “an independent publisher devoted to voices on the page that demand to be heard. We are here to discover and publish what others have missed, refused, or failed to find, even though it sparkles and sounds its magic from the deep bottom of a forlorn sea.” It plans to publish two to four books a year at present, and is distributed by the fast-growing Seattle, Wash.–based distributor Asterism.

Bard accepts submissions via LitMag's submissions manager on the Submittable platform. Berley said that “it is the mission of Bard Books to be open to writers who are not represented by agents,” and as such, “we read what comes in, from wherever it comes,” and “need to keep our submission portal open.” To do so, Berley explained, “Bard Books is using the same model as LitMag for handling submissions because in our experience it works.” The press's submission fees, he added, “help keep the number of submissions from becoming overwhelming, and they help with costs.”

In a release announcing the new press, Berley noted that Bard wants “to publish well what the ‘big five’ houses cannot find or cultivate.” Despite Lish's 28-year stint—from 1977 to 1995—editing at Knopf, which was acquired by Random House in 1960 and remains a cornerstone imprint of the country's largest publisher, Penguin Random House, Lish has continued to publish his own work with independent houses in recent years, including Dzanc Books and Little Island Press. His son, Atticus Lish, published his award-winning debut novel with the late Giancarlo DiTrapano’s heralded indie house Tyrant Books, and his sophomore novel with Knopf.

“It is hellish to publish, but heavenly when the editor is Bard Books’ Marc Berley,” Lish said in a statement. “Every writer should have the gift given me in Bard’s Berley.”

For his part, Berley said that “editing two masterful novels by Captain Fiction and feeling his trust has more value than my Columbia PhD.” He added that Lish came to him by way of his magazine. “Lish admired the way I edited LitMag,” he wrote. “That led to Gordon wanting to work with me as his editor, and to publish with Bard Books. The rest, working together, has been a pure literary delight. I have a deeper understanding of why Lish is a legend.“