By Philip C. Winslow | Shortly after a teenage gunman murdered seventeen people and wounded seventeen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, I thought back over some American history and my own familiarity with guns, and wrote here on Beacon Broadside that “In 1970, historian Richard Hofstadter popularized the term ‘gun culture’ in writing about how Americans’ resolute possession of firearms dated back to colonial days, when farmer-settlers lived on a wild frontier . . .
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The timing of this Q&A is a nice bookend, as I joined Beacon last June! I saw this specific job retweeted by either POC in Publishing or Latinx in Publishing. I’ve been in publishing/the world of books in some way ever since I graduated college back in the aughts. After moving around a bit, I really found a sweet spot in working on progressive books, and publicity and marketing really suit my preference of crafting the messaging and helping to put out projects into the world that the author has spent so much time working on.
By Brittany Wallace | I remember when I first heard about “Breaking Bread.” Contrary to what movies would have you think, the publishing process takes at least a year, sometimes two or three. When I started at Beacon in September 2021, we were already abuzz about our summer 2022 list—publishing speak for “forthcoming books.” Our director and the book’s in-house editor, Helene Atwan, brought “Breaking Bread” up in an all-staff meeting. She talked about how two years-long friends, Debra Spark and Deborah Joy Corey, gathered up to seventy essays from renowned and beloved food writers for the collection.
Our gun violence nightmare strikes again. We’re mourning the nineteen students and two teachers who died yesterday in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Sixteen others were wounded. To honor their memory, we’re sharing these poems from “Bullets into Bells,” a powerful call to end American gun violence from celebrated poets and those most impacted.
It’s flying graduation caps season! We’re not post-pandemic, but graduates are embarking on a world stage that looks different from what it was two or three years ago. Some of those differences are alarming.
By Kyle T. Mays | I have read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” every summer since I was sixteen; it is my favorite book. During a particularly difficult time in my life, my Advanced Placement US history teacher, Mr. K., gave me a copy of the book after trying to get me to talk to him about my situation. For reasons I don’t remember, I did not want to hear from this white man! He pulled out of his bag an original copy of “The Autobiography.”
A Q&A with Eboo Patel | Always remember: the goal is not a more ferocious revolution; the goal is a more beautiful social order. Those of us in advocacy have signed up to be the architects of a better society, not just tell other people what they are doing wrong. We need to defeat the things we do not love by building the things we do. What does a better school look like? What does a working grocery store in a food desert look like?
Still kicking two years in, COVID brought out the worst from the nation’s populace: racist brutality against marginalized communities. This year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month commemorates the victims of the 2021 spa shootings as well as all other Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders lost to anti-Asian violence during the pandemic and throughout history. This violence is a form of erasure. As historian Catherine Ceniza Choy writes in her forthcoming addition to Beacon Press’s ReVisioning History series, “This positioning of Asians in opposition to American identity and experience is perhaps most powerfully expressed through the erasure of their long-standing presence in the United States and their contributions to its various industries.”
By María de los Angeles Torres | After a contentious campaign that ignited strong debate specially among Pedro Pans—Cuban children who came to the US unaccompanied in the early sixties—Governor DeSantis of Florida is poised to sign a new law effectively banning shelter for recent unaccompanied immigrant minors in the state fleeing violence in their homeland.
Bring out your flower bouquets and your brunch reservations! This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we’re bringing the books to take you into the weekend and beyond. These books show how every kind of mother needs to be valued and supported in the catch-all societal stew we call the US. Mothers of color. Immigrant mothers. Mothers who become parents at a young age. Mothers separated from their families because of incarceration. Mothers challenging the medical establishment about misconceived notions of disability.
By James Baldwin | Let’s begin by saying that we are living through a dangerous time. Everyone in this room is in one way or another aware of that. We are in a revolutionary situation, no matter how unpopular that word has become in this country. The society in which we live is desperately menaced, not by Khrushchev, but from within. So any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible—and particularly those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people—must be prepared to “go for broke.”
It has not gotten any easier for educators. If the pandemic was not enough, many are picking up the slack for unfilled job openings, riding on the fumes of burnout, and consequently, leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of COVID. Which goes to show how much they are unthanked and undervalued for all they do to nurture wisdom, curiosity, and critical thinking in students at a time when societal consensus at large would rather shepherd us toward an uneducated nation. We need to show up for them!
A Q&A with Raquel Salas Rivera | Not all my work is meant to be translated, but when I do self-translate, the flipbook is perfect for a bilingual edition. It doesn’t give priority to either language, and that feels truer to both my process and my readership. In many ways, my readers in Spanish and those who read me in English don’t always overlap but they do correspond, to borrow a term from Jack Spicer.
By Christian Coleman | He is hailed as a literary giant whose prolific writing career has made him a New York Times best-selling author. His novels include “The Master,” “The Magician,” “Nora Webster,” and “Brooklyn.” “Brooklyn” was, in fact, adapted as a feature film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, so he has movie-vetted cred, too. Now we get to see Colm Tóibín flex as a poet in his debut collection, “Vinegar Hill.”
A Q&A with Terry Galloway | It’s a Hallmark film of a movie and, as such, has every Deaf cliché you can think of, including how hot Deaf people are in bed—although I’m inclined to perpetuate that myth. “CODA,” written by a hearing person and adapted by another hearing person, made the Deaf family the nominal villains: backwards, unthinking, unfeeling, selfish bumpkins. Until, of course, their hearing, singing savior of a child makes them see the error of their dumb ole Deaf ways.
By Daina Ramey Berry | Good afternoon, Chairman Green, Chairwoman Waters, Vice Chair Williams and members of the Committee. It is an honor to come before this body to share my testimony on the legacies of slavery and connections to financial institutions. I have been studying this history for thirty years and I appreciate the invitation.
By Avery Cook | After two long years of conference Zoom rooms, we donned our lanyards once again and set up our table-skirted shop at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) in Boston, from March 31 through April 3. With the conference in our backyard this year, we attended with numbers and enthusiasm, enjoying for the first time since 2019 the privilege of being surrounded by our books and chatting in person with some of our authors.
By Lennard Davis | Like many Children of Deaf Adults [CODAs], I was heartened to see that the film “CODA” had won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It is very exciting that Troy Kotsur, who plays the Deaf father of the hearing child in the film, was the first Deaf male actor won for Best Supporting Male Performance. It is also encouraging to see a movie in which all the roles of the Deaf characters were actually played by Deaf actors. Hurray! All a major step forward in the fight against audism. But as a CODA, I should step back from the cheering crowds of appreciative hearing and Deaf fans to express some serious regrets.
In the wake of Helene Atwan’s retirement announcement, Beacon Press is delighted to share that Gayatri Patnaik, who has been with the press for two decades, has been appointed as the next Director, effective July 30, 2022.
By Tourmaline | I was a preteen when the first edition of “Transgender Warriors”—the foundational text by the late, great Leslie Feinberg—was published in 1996. It came into the world at a pivotal time for me, providing the life-changing context that would help me to understand who I was and who came before me. Context that, before this book, could only be found scattered in disparate places, passed down in whispers and folklore, or translated and excavated from bigoted depictions of historical trans figures deemed deviant by the status quo.