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Editor Interview: Orison Books

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Spiritually engaged books

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Some of the most vital work in contemporary literature is being published by relatively small non-profit presses, such as Alice James Books, Sarabande Books, Milkweed Editions, Wave Books, and many others.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Some of my favorite living writers are Jane Hirshfield, Annie Dillard, Li-Young Lee, Leila Chatti, Christian Wiman, Natasha Trethewey, Marilynne Robinson, Phillip B. Williams, Ilya Kaminsky, Margaret Atwood--and of course many others!

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Our focus on literature that engages the life of the spirit is unique because we're not affiliated with any specific religious or spiritual tradition or perspective, so we're open to any and all ways of approaching what has traditionally been called "the spirit."

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Disregarding our submission guidelines and emailing me directly. This is not a successful strategy!

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: As editor, I'm responsible for overseeing every aspect of the book publication process, so the range of my work on any given day can span from reading submissions, to negotiating contracts, to making editorial comments on accepted manuscripts, to accounting, to mailing out review copies and book orders, to working with our designer on layout and book design... There's never enough time!

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes. So far, our books have won the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award for Essays and the Texas Institute of Letters Bob Bush Memorial Award for Poetry, and have been named finalists for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the National Jewish Book Award in Poetry, the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry, and the Paterson Poetry Prize.