Among her many attribute, Roxane Gay is now starting a book imprint. The professor, editor, social commentator, advice columnist, and best-selling writer, whose books include the essay collection Bad Feminist and a memoir, Hunger, will be part of Grove Atlantic, the publishing house announced Wednesday, May 26. Roxane Gay Books plans to release three titles a year, a mix of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, and focus on underrepresented voices. Gay founded Tiny Hardcore Press in 2011, turning out 25 to 50 copies of each title along with e-books.
“This was when I was making absolutely no money,” she says in an interview with The New York Times. “Everything was very shoestring but well-intended. And I always wondered what it would be like to publish books with an actual budget and actual promotion efforts behind it, like a marketing department and advances and things like that.” Grove is one of the larger independent publishers in the United States and one of the most prestigious. It has published Gay’s fiction since 2014, starting with her first novel, An Untamed State.
Gay, who is based in Los Angeles, will make her first call for submissions this summer and plans to open her doors to writers with and without agents. She did warn that the call for stories could change if the volume of manuscripts becomes overwhelming. “There are so many barriers and so many gates,” she says. “Let’s take them down.” Grove announced Wednesday that they also plan to offer a paid, one-year fellowship program that would serve as a crash course in publishing, for applicants without access to such jobs through traditional pathways. Gay will select and edit the books her imprint publishes, but she will also work closely on these projects with Amy Hundley, an executive editor at Grove who edits Gay’s work. Hundley said that Gay’s eye for talent, in addition to the talent she possesses, was enormously appealing to Grove. Gay hopes to receive manuscripts highlighting queer voices and feminist voices, as well as stories focused on body size. She wants to open up room for different kinds of conversations.