University of Georgia Press
Explore This Article
FoundedAthens in 1938, the University of Georgia Press is the oldest and largest book publisher in the state and the only member of the Association of American University Presses within the University System of Georgia. The press publishes seventy-five to eighty new books each year. Its mission is to produce distinguished, peer-reviewed publications that advance the intellectual, cultural, and environmental heritage of Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation. The press also publishes a series in international affairs and security studies.
The press evolved from the public relations and publications department of the University of Georgia (UGA)—its first publications were financed through the sales of syllabi printed for survey courses. Nan Bryan, director of UGA's printing department, served as the press's first director. The first UGA Press faculty advisory committee was appointed by Bryan's successor, Frazier Moore, in September 1938. The committee was responsible for advising the press in its selection of publication material and in the formulation of policies. In October 1939 Moore and UGA president Harmon Caldwell incorporated the operation, and in 1945 the university made a revolving fund of $10,000 available to the press. The university continues to subsidize the press today.
The press originally published books by UGA faculty members and brought rare southern titles back into print. In 1938, its first year of operation, the press produced only one book, Segments of Southern Thought, a collection of essays on southern life and letters by assistant professor of English Edd Winfield Parks. Over the years the publication program grew to include works written not only by Georgia natives and UGA professors but also by authors from other parts of the country and around the world.
By 1940 the press had published eight books, including Georgia: A Guide to Its Towns and Countryside (1940), Athenian Fred Birchmore's Around the World on a Bicycle (1939), and Rae S. Neely's Marguerite, the Sister and Wife of Kings (1939), the press's first poetry book. Each of these titles enjoyed local and national media attention. Other early press publications include books on Georgia history and literature, southern history and literature, travel, nature writing, nature guides, short fiction, and poetry—subjects that continue to be represented in press catalogs.
The UGA Press offices have moved five times since leaving the Chancellor House. The Press occupied three separate locations on north campus until settling in 1993 at Oakbrook Corporate Campus in east Athens. In 2010 the Press was reorganized as a unit of the University of Georgia Libraries, and in 2012 the offices moved into the Main Library on north campus.
In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, under the influential directorship of Moore's successor, Ralph Stephens, a poet and former UGA English and journalism professor, the press began to build a reputation as a first-rate publisher of poetry and literary studies. Stephens inaugurated the prestigious Contemporary Poetry Series in 1970; the first volume in the series was The Snake Hunter by Harry Morris. The series remained active for more than thirty years, and individual titles garnered top awards, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award, which was given to poet Albert Goldbarth for his collection Heaven and Earth: A Cosmology in 1991. Stephens continued to foster the regional studies list, publishing one of the press's all-time best sellers in 1975, Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States. By this time the press had 260 titles in print.
PaulFlannery O'Connor), the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction, and the Brown Thrasher Books imprint (reprints of Georgia classics).Two of the series, the Flannery O' Connor Award and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction, are still active and held in high esteem today.
UGA Press editor Malcolm Call began his tenure as director in 1984, when Zimmer left to direct the University of Iowa Press. With Call at the helm, the press began publishing more trade titles (books intended for a larger, general audience), including a small list of full-length fiction by contemporary Georgia authors. He revitalized the list in southern and American history, particularly in the areas of African American studies and civil rights history. In the mid-1980s several press history books won prestigious awards, and three were chosen for the History Book Club. By 1988 the press's total list numbered seventy to eighty titles per year. A third of these were trade books, and Call hired a national sales team, tripled advertising in general-interest publications, and hired a full-time publicist to support the new emphasis. The press won the Grand Prize for overall literary excellence in the Boston Globe Literary Press Competition in 1988.
After Townsend Prize for Fiction: The Sweet Everlasting (1996) by Judson Mitcham and Daughter of My People (1998) by James Kilgo. (After the press published his second novel, Sabbath Creek , Mitcham became the first author to win the award twice.) Orchard initiated the press's first foray into electronic publishing in 1999 as a founding partner of the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
The press also forged new alliances within the UGA community, developing series with editors from the university's School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Geography. Other publishing partners included the Atlanta History Center; the Georgia Humanities Council; the Southern Foodways Alliance, based in Oxford, Mississippi, and headed by Jones County native John T. Edge; and the Telfair Museum of Art (later Telfair Museums) in Savannah.
Ingovernor Roy Barnes. In 2008 the press received a Governor's Award in the Humanities and marked its seventieth anniversary by launching a five-year general endowment campaign, to end in 2013 with a seventy-fifth anniversary celebration.
In 2012 Lisa Bayer, the former marketing director at the University of Illinois Press in Champaign, succeeded Mitchell as press director. The press's imprint is overseen by a twelve-member faculty editorial board, whose primary role is to uphold the integrity of the peer-review process.
Media Gallery: University of Georgia Press