Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Short Takes

Mark Anthony Neal interviews Claudia Milian about her new book, LATINING AMERICA, for Left of Black. In the interview, Milian addresses Mark Anthony Neal's question about the difference between "blackness, brownness, and dark brownness." Watch the engaging interview via The Root website here. The segment with Milian starts at 3:56.

The Utne Reader has an excerpt from AMERICAN AFTERLIFE up on its website. Learn about memorial tattoos here.

The Island Packet features an interview with Andrea Feeser about her new book, RED, WHITE, AND BLACK MAKE BLUE. In the article, Feeser explains how she attempted to dye a garment using indigo:
Feeser conducted archival research in South Carolina and also traveled to England on a grant from Clemson to do research. She even enlisted the help of two of her colleagues to dye a garment the way slaves would have originally done.
"When we pulled it out of the vat it was a greenish-yellow color, but then as the oxygen made its way into the dye, it was absolutely gorgeous watching that transformation," Feeser said. In her book she writes that "watching the transformation is not unlike watching time-lapse photography of a flower blossoming: One thing becomes another slowly enough to mesmerize and quickly enough to thrill. In short, it seems magical."
"The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History" praises THE LARDER for offering a solid argument about food studies:
These essays do more than merely entertain; they challenge and encourage deep thinking about food. Early Americanists will be grateful that these pieces complement new work in food history, hopefully heralding longer contributions in the form of forthcoming books.
THE DANCE BOOTS author Linda LeGarde Grover makes Indian Country Today's list of "worthy yet lesser-known American Indian female fiction writers.

Congratulations, Frank X Walker! The TURN ME LOOSE poet is one of five finalists for outstanding literary work--poetry for the 45th annual NAACP image awards. The winners will be announced February 21(non-televised categories) and 22 (televised categories). More information is available here.

CHICKEN DREAMING CORN author Roy Hoffman recounts his dancing experiences from childhood to present day in a recent piece for the New York Times. The essay is available here.

UGA Press announces new editor for Environmental History and the American South series


Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Writer/Contact: Amanda E. Sharp
Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Press announces James C. Giesen, Mississippi State University (MSU), as the new series editor for Environmental History and the American South (EHAS). Giesen will be replacing Paul S. Sutter, University of Colorado, Boulder, effective February 1.

“It’s a great honor to take over as editor of a series that has done so much to build and shape the field of southern environmental history,” said Giesen. “It’s hard to think of a book series that has had such a direct impact on the research, methodologies, and scholarship of a field of history in as short a time. I hope to build on the series’ success by continuing to find manuscripts that push the boundaries of the field. Historians and other scholars have been so influenced by the books in this series that they’re beginning to ask new questions and apply fresh, imaginative approaches to understanding the South’s environmental past. My goal is to make sure that this next wave of scholarship is part of the EHAS series as well.”

Giesen is the author of Boll Weevil Blues: Cotton, Myth, and Power in the American South, published by the University of Chicago Press. It has won several major awards – including, most recently, the Southern Historical Association Francis B. Simkins Award. Geisen is also the executive secretary of the Agricultural History Society, and he directs the Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment in the South (CHASES) at MSU.

Sutter will be taking over the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series at the University of Washington Press. He will continue to support the EHAS series by serving on the advisory board.

“This is a move that I have been contemplating for several years now, since I relocated from the University of Georgia to the University of Colorado, “said Sutter. “ While I remain critically interested in the environmental history of the South and believe that the South remains one of the most fruitful regions for future environmental history scholarship, my career trajectory here in Colorado has slowly pulled me away from the region.”

“James’ superb scholarship and admirable organizational energy make him a great fit for the series, and I am excited to see what he does with it in the years to come,” said Sutter. “I have invested a lot of energy in the series, and it is important to me that it continues to enjoy success. I have been so thankful to the entire press for their continuing commitment to producing beautiful books.  I leave the series editorship, then, confident that it is in the hands of a great team.”

"This change of series editor comes at an auspicious time for UGA Press and the EHAS series,” said Mick Gusinde-Duffy, UGA Press editor-in-chief. “The series has a rock-solid reputation and we look forward to building on that success with James Giesen's energetic leadership and editorial vision. We are so grateful to have had the brilliant Paul Sutter as our founding editor, and he remains close to the series via our advisory board. Together, we will refocus our efforts to recruit and cultivate the very best, most innovative scholarship in this vibrant field."

For more information on the University of Georgia Press: http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/about_us/who_we_are
For more information on the Environmental History and the American South series: http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/series/EHAS

Monday, January 27, 2014


With Black History month approaching ever so fast, we at the UGA Press are very excited about the publication and launch events for SLAVERY AND FREEDOM IN SAVANNAH, edited by Leslie M. Harris and Daina Ramey Berry. This book is a richly illustrated, accessibly written book modeled on the very successful Slavery in New York, a volume Leslie Harris coedited with Ira Berlin. Here Harris and Daina Ramey Berry have collected a variety of perspectives on slavery, emancipation, and black life in Savannah from the city’s founding to the early twentieth century. Written by leading historians of Savannah, Georgia and the South, the volume includes a mix of longer thematic essays and shorter sidebars focusing on individual people, events, and places.

In collaboration with Telfair Museums, some events we have scheduled for the release include:

February 8 - August 31, 2014
Location: Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, GA
Description: Slavery & Freedom in Savannah Exhibition

Telfair Museums presents Slavery and Freedom in Savannah exhibition in conjunction with the newly published book of the same title. The exhibition’s images, documentary accounts and objects from Telfair Museums and other collections provide a deeper understanding of our collective American past. The exhibition also presents objects that tell stories into the 20th century, highlighting Savannah-only histories and representing some contemporary interpretations of the African American experience in Savannah and America. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, February 12 @ 6:00 PM 
Location: Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, GA
Description: Launch and Reception

This event will celebrate the publication of Slavery and Freedom in Savannah with a launch party and reception. The Windsor Forest Troubadours and Knights of Harmony will give a choral performance, followed by a presentation by the book’s editors, nationally-recognized scholars Leslie M. Harris of Emory University and Daina Ramey Berry of the University of Texas. The Friends of the Owens-Thomas House are generous hosts of the reception, open to general membership and guests. Includes light appetizers and cash bar for beer and wine. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Upcoming Events for Author and Poet Cynthia Lowen

As we near the end of January and head into February, take some time to attend these author events for Cynthia Lowen and her new book THE CLOUD THAT CONTAINED THE LIGHTNING:

Wednesday, January 22
Location: Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Description: Reading and Signing
For more information, visit the Greenlight Bookstore website.

Tuesday, January 28
Location: KGB Bar, New York, NY
Description: Reading
For more information, visit the KGB Bar website.

Friday, January 31
Location: Red Sofa Salon, Philadelphia, PA
Description: Reading and Signing
For more information, visit the Red Sofa Salon website.

Wednesday, February 12
Location: NYU Bookstore, New York, NY
Description: Talk and Signing

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

AMERICAN AFTERLIFE book club giveaway!

Kate Sweeney, author of AMERICAN AFTERLIFE, is offering free signed copies of her forthcoming book!

AMERICAN AFTERLIFE is not a grief handbook, comprehensive history, or survey of all death practices in America today. Instead, it is a collection of narratives that speak to one another—and it appeals to anyone curious about how Americans “do” death, whether they have navigated this nation’s changing choices in memorialization or not.

Discuss AMERICAN AFTERLIFE in your book club and win a free signed copy. Sweeney is available for Skype book club visits. To schedule, email samantha@jkscommunications.com. Bonus: The first five book clubs to contact Samantha with the subject line "American Afterlife Book Club Giveaway" will receive a free signed copy.

More information about the book, upcoming events, and "Dismal Trade Interviews" is available here: http://www.americanafterlifebook.com/.

Kate Sweeney is a reporter and producer at NPR affiliate WABE in Atlanta, Georgia. She has won two Edward R. Morrow awards (2004 and 2011) and two Associated Press awards (2005 and 2010) for her reporting. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Sweeney’s public radio experience has trained her to write about complex subjects in a voice that is straightforward, intelligent, and conversational. AMERICAN AFTERLIFE reflects that. Her book is also written from the viewpoint of someone who has not yet experienced a terrible death. The driving force behind this book is her curiosity about mortality and what death means when it happens, rather than a penchant for the morbid.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Short Takes

The Washington Post Book World calls Glenn T. Eskew's JOHNNY MERCER a "smart and meticulously researched biography."

In its thorough review of JOHNNY MERCER, the Wall Street Journal pays particular attention to Mercer's musical accomplishments while highlighting Mercer's upbringing and relationships:
Mr. Eskew doesn't dwell on Mercer's personal life, but he gets it right when he observes discreetly that "the years of emotional abuse left the Mercers devoted to each other and to alcohol in a co-dependency neither could shake." Although JOHNNY MERCER: SOUTHERN SONGWRITER FOR THE WORLD is ponderous at times, it does justice to the giant accomplishments of the "pixie from Dixie."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution compiles a list of "some suggested favorites for the next six months" and includes Kate Sweeney's forthcoming AMERICAN AFTERLIFE. AMERICAN AFTERLIFE is "a funny, edifying American road trip that bears witness to our most revealing and eccentric funerary customs."

Naming Kate Sweeney as one of the "20 People to Watch in 2014," Creative Loafing praises Sweeney's "enthusiasm" and calls AMERICAN AFTERLIFE "an entertaining read."

Martin Rubin reviews THE MILITARY AND THE MONARCHY for the Washington Times. THE MILITARY AND THE MONARCHY is published by the University Press of North Georgia and distributed by UGA Press.
When the royal baby, Prince George of Cambridge, was baptized on Oct. 23 in the Chapel Royal of St. James' Palace in the heart of London, few thought back to the baptism of another Prince George of Cambridge, his first cousin seven times removed, nearly two centuries ago. Yet as this new book by West Point history professor Kevin W. Farrell makes clear, that far-off figure was not only a fascinating character, but also played an important role as commander in chief of the British army for nearly 40 years, from 1856 to 1895.
Author of the forthcoming BREAKING GROUND: MY LIFE IN MEDICINE, Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, will be speaking at an event honoring the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. He will address Tuskegee University at 11 a.m. CST in the University Chapel for the institution’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance. Former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Sullivan is also the founding dean and former president of The School of Medicine at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Goodreads Book Giveaway #2

We're giving away advance reader copies of PIRATES YOU DON'T KNOW, AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE EXAMINED LIFE! To enter, click on the "Enter to win" button below or look under the giveaways section on Goodreads. Winners will be selected in mid-February. Good luck!

A gorgeous and profound look at life, death, transience, toil, class, and family.

For nearly ten years, John Griswold has been publishing his essays in Inside Higher Ed, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Brevity, Ninth Letter, and Adjunct Advocate, many under the pen name Oronte Churm. His new book, PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE EXAMINED LIFE is a funny, poignant, bittersweet, and sometimes snarky account of everything ranging from creative writing to babies, and from race issues in a university town to crocodiles.

Griswold’s tongue-in-cheek tone allows him to discuss this breadth of subject matter in an inviting and entertaining way while still addressing prevalent and important issues. With humor, pathos, and poignancy, he touches on his upbringing in a coal town in southern Illinois, how class in America affected four generations of his family, his experience as an army deep-sea diver and frogman, the joys and challenges of fatherhood, and what it means to be literate and open to the world. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Pirates You Don't Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined ... by John Griswold
Enter to win

Monday, January 06, 2014

Spring 2014 Sneak Peek 6

University of Georgia Press is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of John Griswold’s new book, PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE EXAMINED LIFE. It is a funny, poignant, bittersweet, and sometimes snarky account of everything ranging from creative writing to babies, and from race issues in a university town to crocodiles. The book is scheduled for publication on March 15, 2014.

For nearly ten years, John Griswold has been publishing his essays in Inside Higher Ed, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Brevity, Ninth Letter, and Adjunct Advocate, many under the pen name Oronte Churm. Churm’s topics have ranged widely—from the writing life and the utility of creative writing classes, to race issues in a university town, to the beautiful, protective crocodiles that lie patiently waiting in the minds of fathers. PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW is Griswold’s vital attempt at making sense of his life as a writer and now-professor. The answers for him are both comic and profound: “Picture Long John Silver at the end of the movie, his dory filled with stolen gold, rowing and sinking; rowing, sinking, and gloating."

Though Griswold recently entered the tenure stream, much of his experience, at a Big 10 university, has been as an adjunct lecturer—that tenuous and uncertain position so many now occupy in higher education. In PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW, Griswold writes poignantly and hilariously about the contingent nature of this life, tying it to his birth in the last American enclave in Saigon during the Vietnam War, his upbringing in a coal town in southern Illinois, and his experience as an army deep-sea diver and frogman. He investigates class in America through four generations of his family and portrays the continuing joys and challenges of fatherhood while making a living, becoming literate, and staying open to the world. But Griswold’s central concerns apply to everyone: What does it mean to be educated? What does it mean to think, feel, create, and be whole? What is the point of this particular journey?

Bob Shacochis, author of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, says, “I generally feel indifference for books about writing by writers or anybody. But this one I unabashedly love, embrace, scribble in, underline, copy, quote out loud to my wife. I say without reservation, John Griswold is one of the best essayists inhabiting this land.”

John Griswold is an assistant professor in the MFA program at McNeese State University and the editor of The McNeese Review. He is the author of the novel A Democracy of Ghosts and of the narrative nonfiction Herrin: The Brief History of an Infamous American City. He lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Including McNeese State University, he has taught college-level creative writing, literature, and rhetoric for 16 years at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the University of Miami. Also, Griswold was the first blogger for Inside Higher Ed and has had the blog, The Education of Oronte Churm, for 7 years. Check out the blog here.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Short Takes

Buzzfeed selects Tom Kealey's THIEVES I'VE KNOWN as one of the "17 Books We Loved in 2013." "In his hauntingly beautiful short story collection, Kealey unveils each of the lives of his young characters like a flower, and shows their capacity for survival."

Publishers Weekly reviews Kate Sweeney's forthcoming AMERICAN AFTERLIFE:
As radio reporter and producer Sweeney notes in this unsettling, compassionate volume on American mourning customs, death was once a ubiquitous part of American life; the Victorians raised mourning to an art form. . . . Her stories originate mostly in the South, but have universal relevance. Sweeney writes with a deft touch and with empathy for mourners, whose stories she relays with clarity and care.
Calvin Trillin's "Tamales on the Delta" article in the most recent issue of the New Yorker gives a shout-out to Susan Puckett's EAT DRINK DELTA. Recapping last year's second annual Delta Hot Tamale Festival in Greenville, MS, Trillin comments on a regional food specialties panel he attended. "Susan Puckett, the author of EAT DRINK DELTA, mentioned another favorite of the region we were in—Kool-Aid pickles." Trillin is the author of AN EDUCATION IN GEORGIA (available from UGA Press), which focuses on the integration of the University of Georgia. "[This book] comes closer to the essential social truths of the problem than do some works of greater scope. . . . Trillin brings to the task a greater knowledge of his subjects than most reporters. . . .This knowledge is reinforced by a keen eye, a sensitive ear and respect for fact."—New York Times Book Review

The Nashua Telegraph selects EAT DRINK DELTA as one of the notable cookbooks and culinary reads for 2013.
This is hearty Southern cooking; there is plenty of sugar and butter. But the amounts seem below the norm and few of the recipes involve deep-fat frying. Try, for instance, Chef Charlotte Skelton’s traditional Delta-style chicken salad, built around poached and shredded chicken breasts, or Kathleen Claiborne’s hot cakes with (and this is heretical for New Englanders) orange syrup.
Poets.org featured Cynthia Lowen's poem "Manifest Destiny" on December 27 for the Poem-A-Day program. Check out the poem here. Lowen is the author of THE CLOUD THAT CONTAINED THE LIGHTNING.

KGGN 890AM interviewed John Edgar Tidwell and Carmaletta Williams about their new book, MY DEAR BOY, on December 18. Listen to the interview here.

The Florida Times-Union interviewed Jingle Davis about her book, ISLAND TIME, and her decision to move back to St. Simons Island. Here's an excerpt from the article:
In talking about the island, she said, “It’s vanishing, St. Simons along with the rest of vanishing Georgia. It happens on the coast. It’s popular, people want to live there.”
She notes that once people get to St. Simons Island, they get protective.
It’s funny how that works. People moving to the island don’t ask how many trees were bulldozed to build the house they bought, but they don’t want any more touched.
The book doesn’t have everything, she is certain of that, but she said, “I seem to have put enough in to recognize the place that was there when we were little.”
Asked why she decided to move back to her house on the island, Jingle gives the stock answer.
“I guess I’ve got sand between my toes,” she said.
Maybe, but she’s also seen the marsh turn gold an hour before a winter sunset, had the sea fog condense in tiny beads on her hair, felt the afternoon sea breeze cool a stifling summer day and seen a beam from the lighthouse reach across the still, dark sound.
"ALABAMA GETAWAY is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand contemporary American politics."—Southern Cultures

The January issue of Carolina Arts highlights Andrea Feeser's RED, WHITE, AND BLACK MAKE BLUE. The magazine is available for viewing and/or downloading here.

Brian Craig Miller, author of the forthcoming EMPTY SLEEVES: AMPUTATION IN THE CIVIL WAR SOUTH (2015), has a piece on Major General John Bell Hood for the New York Times' Disunion blog. Hood was one of many during the Civil War whose injury led to the loss of a limb. EMPTY SLEEVES will be the fifth book in the UnCivil Wars series.

Congrats to Michele Gillespie, Paul M. Pressly, and Karen A. Weyler! Their books, KATHARINE AND R.J. REYNOLDS, ON THE RIM OF THE CARIBBEAN, and EMPOWERING WORDS, were chosen as Outstanding Academic Titles by Choice magazine.

Congratulations to Frank X Walker! His book, TURN ME LOOSE, made three best poetry books of 2013 lists: Tinhouse, Slate.com and Split This Rock.