Meet the Press: Melissa Hammer, Senior Acquisitions Editor

 

meet_the_press_graphic_march2018Name: Melissa Hammer
Position: Senior Acquisitions Editor
Hometown: Wheaton, IL
Alma mater(s); major(s), minor(s): Bradley University; B.A. in English and Spanish, Professional Writing minor
Social media handles: @melbuhtoast on Twitter and Instagram

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Tell us a little bit about your position at the press.

My job at the press is to seek out and contract new books to publish, specifically in the areas of military history, diplomatic history, Asian studies, political science, and public health. Once projects are under contract, I work with authors as they develop their manuscripts prior to submission and answer any questions they have about the publishing process.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

Who Killed Betty Gail Brown by Robert G. Lawson – it was a story I was unfamiliar with since I am not from the area, but I love a good true crime murder mystery!

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

If visiting Lexington specifically, the perfect day would start with donuts and coffee from North Lime Donuts, followed by a morning walk at McConnell Springs Park. Then a stop at the Pepper Distillery District for lunch at Goodfellas and a beer from Ethereal, and maybe ice cream from Crank & Boom. In the afternoon, we would either visit the Arboretum for more walking, or – if it is raining – catch a movie at the Kentucky Theater and then dinner at OBC Kitchen. For a weekend excursion away from Lexington, I’d suggest renting a cabin at Cumberland Falls State Park – it’s BEAUTIFUL!

What’s your favorite word?

Kerfuffle

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it? 

I’ve weirdly always loved the simplicity of Garamondgaramond

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

When I was a kid I first wanted to be a waitress, then a dolphin trainer/marine biologist, and then I knew I wanted to work with books. It wasn’t until I started doing internships in publishing in college that I knew I wanted to work in book publishing.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? What’s a random factoid about yourself?

I have had the pleasure of visiting almost every state in the US – I only have 10 left!

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

I honestly have no idea. Perhaps Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter?

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. I liked it a lot, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t read Outlander, or if you don’t enjoy book that are over 700 pages long!

Any hidden talents?

It is more of a hidden talent now than it was in my early life, but I play the violin.

If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?

One of my favorite quotes is also my personal motto – and a piece of advice I would give anyone. It is “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” —e.e. cummings

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Meet the Press: Katie Cross Gibson, Direct Promotions and Exhibits Manager

Welcome to the first installment of our Meet the Press blog series! To read the series introduction from last week, click on the Meet the Press picture below.

Meet_the_Press_graphic_March2018

Name: Katie Cross Gibson
Position: Direct Promotions and Exhibits Manager
Hometown: Science Hill, KY
Alma mater(s); major(s), minor(s): University of Kentucky; B.A. in English, Psychology minor
Social media: @KRC_Gee on Twitter

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Tell us a little bit about what you do at the press.

I handle exhibits. In short, this means that whenever we go to conferences, meetings, and fairs to display or sell books, I register for our booth and ensure that we bring the proper titles and materials (banners, tables, bookends, etc.). On the direct promotions side, I create ads, oversee the production of catalogs, coordinate mailings, and assist with social media and newsletters.

Additionally, I help manage our internship program and the interns’ participation in the Social Media Smackdown competition, and I’ll often lend a hand in carrying out special events. One of my favorite aspects of this position is the variety of it—I always have numerous irons in the fire, and I’m always learning new things.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

I’d probably have to say 2009’s What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets, an anthology edited by Jeff Worley. If you’re not familiar with Kentucky’s poetry scene, this book will introduce you to some of the big names. There are a handful of poems and a short bio for each poet featured, so it gives you a good sense of each person’s style. I actually won my personal copy in a giveaway at a hometown senior send-off before I matriculated to UK!

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you dream about having a certain career as an adult?

I spent most of my formative years aspiring to be a teacher. When I was very young, I did have the vaguest idea of the trade publishing industry—I thought it was the hip career path to follow if you lived in a “faraway” place like New York City. One of my closest friends and I fantasized we’d grow up to work on a magazine like American Girl, and we’d make-believe sharing an apartment in NYC and commuting to our office on Vespas.

As a girl living in a small town in southeastern/southcentral Kentucky, working in publishing didn’t seem like it could become my own reality until over a decade later. During my college years, I was fortunate enough that a peer mentor mentioned her own internship at UPK. I wound up interning here twice and gained experience in marketing and acquisitions. I owe a lot to those who took the time to offer their advice and experience, and so part of my own mission is to give back—to help others realize that their dream is attainable and that working in scholarly publishing is a path they can pursue, too.

If you were tasked with being a tour guide to someone who had never visited Kentucky before, where in the state would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

Oh, this is a toughie, so I’ll keep it to Lexington! Perhaps we’d go to POPS Resale, ALL of the local bookstores, the UK Art Museum, Charlie Brown’s, the Carnegie Center for a reading, Coffea for a skillet fudge latte, the KY for KY Fun Mall, Street Scene, and SQecial Media—not necessarily in that order.

What’s your favorite word?

Bless (as in a shortened version of “bless their heart”)

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

Palatino Linotype—it’s like a more sophisticated but easier-going version of Times New Roman.Palatino Linotype

What’s something most people don’t know about you or a random factoid about yourself that you would like to share?

I am a first-generation college graduate from (the outskirts of) Appalachia who writes poetry.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

I recently finished Becoming Unbecoming by Una, and I’d certainly recommend it. It chronicles Una’s life as an English girl growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and it masterfully weaves the story of the Yorkshire Ripper into what’s happening to Una. I think it adds a lot to the current conversations surrounding sexual harassment, assault, and rape and how they affect (and have been affecting) women, girls, and society. The illustrations can be so quietly moving and complement the story so wonderfully.

If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?

Because I can’t choose just one, here are a handful of dynamic duos: Sheila and Margaux from How Should a Person Be?, Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane from Daria, and Willow Rosenberg and Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Do you have a personal motto?

I do indeed, and as I am somewhat of a Beatlemaniac, it’s a couple of lines from “Hey Jude” that particularly resonate: “For well you know that it’s a fool / who plays it cool / by making his world / a little colder.”

 

Meet the Press

We’ve been working a long time to cultivate our mysterious persona (since 1943!), but sometimes being mysterious isn’t all that great. People we meet often have questions about who we are and what we do.

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Most folks are familiar with the “Big Five” publishers, and they do great work. But there are more than 120 university presses in America (not to mention Europe, Australia, China, Canada, and the UK) publishing ~12,000 books a year!

The main difference between our press and a publisher like one of the Big Five is that our books must all be peer-reviewed before they can be published. University press books are sent to scholars and peer-reviewers across the globe to be vetted before they are approved for publication. Even books like The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book were reviewed by experts in the field. This process ensures that our published books remain of the highest quality and helps us maintain a clear and focused mission.

University presses, as a whole, are instrumental to the expansion of knowledge and scholarship. From scholarly monographs and journals, to partnerships with universities, libraries, historical societies, and others, university presses ensure the continued development of research, ideas, and understanding. Below are a few more reasons why university presses matter. For more information, visit www.aupresses.org.

  • University Presses make available to the broader public the full range and value of research generated by university faculty.
  • University Press books and journals present the basic research and analysis that is drawn upon by policymakers, opinion leaders, and authors of works for the general public.
  • University Presses help to preserve the distinctiveness of local cultures through publication of works on the states and regions where they are based.
  • University Presses encourage cultural expression by publishing works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction and books on contemporary art and photography.
  • University Presses, through the peer review process, test the validity and soundness of scholarship and thus maintain high standards for academic publication.
  • University Presses add to the richness of undergraduate and graduate education by publishing most of the non-textbook and supplementary material used by instructors.
  • University Presses extend the reach and influence of their parent institutions, making evident their commitment to knowledge and ideas.
  • University Presses help connect the university to the surrounding community by publishing books of local interest and hosting events for local authors.
  • University Presses provide advice and opportunities for students interested in pursuing careers in publishing.

from “The Value of University Presses,” compiled by the
Association of University Presses (AUPresses)

We want to demystify the machinations of our university press and reach out to our community and friends, old and new. In the weeks ahead, we’ll introduce our staff, feature our process, and of course, highlight our books along the way. We couldn’t do what we love without the support of our readers and fans, so don’t be shy! We’re always delighted to answer any questions anyone might have about UPK, who we are, and what we do.

Farewell to a Sports Legend

NewtonC.M. Newton, a giant in the history of the University of Kentucky, the Southeastern Conference, and in the sport of basketball, died Monday, June 4. Newton launched a basketball coaching career that spanned three decades at three different institutions. He began in 1956 at Transylvania College (where he recruited that program’s first African-American player), followed by coaching stints at the University of Alabama (where he recruited that program’s first African-American player and led the Crimson Tide to three straight SEC titles) and at Vanderbilt University, before returning to his alma mater in 1989 to become UK’s athletic director, a post he held for 11 years.

Newton is widely credited for navigating the resurrection of UK’s basketball program after the NCAA imposed three years probation and other sanctions following the 1988–89 season. He also hired Bernadette Mattox as UK’s first African-American women’s basketball coach (in 1995) and Orlando (“Tubby”) Smith as the university’s first African-American men’s basketball coach (in 1997).

He served as president of USA basketball from 1992–1996 and helped select the United States Olympic “Dream Team” of 1992. In 2000 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

brunkCover.inddNewton reflected on his career in Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats by Doug Brunk. In honor of this sports legend, here is an excerpt from the book:


Having grown up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida I had never seen snow before I went to Kentucky. Being in such a different environment was quite a culture shock to me. In fact, there were times I was so homesick that I thought of leaving the program and returning to Florida. My teammate Ralph Beard and our team manager Humsey Yessin talked me out of that. They’d say things like, “you don’t want to leave Kentucky” and “we’re here for you.” So I stayed.

As a player I never had a significant impact because I was a substitute. But I always felt a part of something really big. The fact that I played on the 1951 national championship team, the fact that I made the travel squad, and that I was one of the first substitutes off the bench made it palatable for me.

Coach Rupp was very important to me because he motivated in a different way than what I was accustomed to. He motivated by fear, mostly, but he was an outstanding basketball coach. I never did break through that fear of Coach Rupp. For example, I’m the only player that ever played for Coach Rupp who went on to coach against him and won. This was in 1972, during my third year as coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of Alabama. We beat the Wildcats 73-70 on our home court. Coach Rupp always considered former players as “one of his boys.” You never were a peer, but I wanted to be a coaching peer of his. When our Alabama team beat him that day I thought that might be a breakthrough on the way to that goal but it wasn’t. After our win he congratulated me and said we deserved to win. Then he said, “but…” — and with that I was transported right back to the player-coach relationship. “You’re trying to do too much offensively,” he told me. “You need to simplify your offense.” He wasn’t being critical; that was just his nature.

My freshman year as a player for UK was Coach Harry Lancaster’s first as a full-time assistant coach. Coach Lancaster actually did more teaching than Coach Rupp did. He was very good to me over the years, and very demanding. He became UK’s baseball coach my junior year and I was a member of that team. He was a task master but he was great to be around. I enjoyed him a great deal.

My teammates and I were student-athletes in the truest sense of the word. We were expected to come in and perform well in basketball as athletes, and we were expected to earn a degree in four years. Today’s players are much more coddled and recruited and different in that respect. I never will forget our transition from the 2,800-seat Alumni Gym, where I played until my junior year, to the 11,500-seat Memorial Coliseum. At the time many people thought Memorial Coliseum was just too big. “They’ll never fill it up,” critics said. But they did. There were similar sentiments expressed by critics and even by some coaches when Rupp Arena was built. Yet today, it’s difficult to find an open seat at any UK game played there. 

I was the head men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt University in 1989 when I got a phone call from UK’s then-president Dr. David P. Roselle asking if I would consider becoming UK’s athletic director in the wake of an NCAA probation. I had no thought of leaving Vanderbilt for UK or anyplace else. But Dr. Roselle convinced me that I was not only wanted as the athletic director but that I was needed. It was the “needed” part that really got to me because UK had been so good to me over the years. They’d provided me an opportunity to receive an education and to play basketball. I had become a successful basketball coach because of my experience there. So off I went to UK.

[. . .]

The Big Blue Nation is fanatical about UK basketball. The way I see it, their level of devotion is on par with that of fans who follow Alabama Crimson Tide football. They are great fans in every respect of the word. Sometimes I felt like they took it too seriously and took it over the line, and yet you’d rather have that then have them be indifferent. People really care about Kentucky basketball. The Big Blue Nation includes people from all walks of life: alumni, bankers, coal miners, and even some who have never set foot on campus in Lexington. It doesn’t matter; they’re Kentucky fans.

UPK75: 75 Years of the University Press of Kentucky

The word “exhibit” usually has a very specific connotation to those in the UP world. Exhibits are events—conferences, book fairs, craft markets, etc.—where publishers rent space to display and/or sell their titles. Some exhibits are geared toward selling books directly to the public, and your booth might be behind a chocolatier’s and across from a painter’s. Others occur during academic conferences and are primarily for meeting with potential authors and scholars in the field.

However, just a few short weeks ago, we were tasked with preparing for an exhibit of another sort—a showcase of our institutional history. We won’t dive too deep into the details in this post—if you missed our latest entry about the exhibit and other 75th anniversary initiatives, you can find it here—but the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning graciously partnered with us, lending us space in their second floor foyer to erect a display commemorating the past 75 years.

UPK75 debuted two weeks ago during the May LexArts Gallery Hop. Despite the rain, there was a wonderful turnout, and we were happy to share a night of celebration and camaraderie with our loved ones, fellow staff members (past and present), authors, and community partners.

If you weren’t able to make it to the Carnegie Center for the UPK75 opening, you missed out on a special night, but not to fear—the exhibit will remain on display through early July. We encourage you to stop by the Carnegie during its business hours to take a look in person.

And if you live too far away to make the trek to Lexington, you’re in luck, as we’ve captured a few of the evening’s highlights in the slideshow below.

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Thanks again to those who helped make this exhibit possible, as well as our Gallery Hop reception attendees and everyone who has visited the display. Our 75th anniversary celebration is far from over, though, so make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on UPK events and happenings!

University Press of Kentucky Celebrates 75 Years

Three quarters of a century ago, what would become University Press of Kentucky (UPK) got its start in the history department at the University of Kentucky. Now, over 2100 books later, we are celebrating that history with a special LexArts Gallery Hop exhibit—UPK75—opening on the second floor of the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning today from 5 to 8 pm. There will be entertainment, light refreshments, and book signings with several prominent Kentucky authors, including George Ella Lyon, Mike Norris, Richard Taylor, David J. Bettez, and more. The UPK75 exhibit will remain on display until mid-July.

Earlier this year, state appropriations for UPK were eliminated from the biennial budget, but the press will continue. In a statement released by University of Kentucky’s President, Eli Capiluto, he pledged to work “with our partner institutions to identify ways to sustain the financial viability of the press over the long term.” An open letter from Provost David W. Blackwell, Interim Dean of the Libraries Deirdre Scaggs, and our director, Leila W. Salisbury, outlines the long-term goal “to chart a strong path forward for UPK.”

With the support of the University of Kentucky, consortia partners, authors, and citizens throughout the commonwealth, we look forward to continuing to serve Kentucky as well as readers across the globe. “I’m deeply grateful for the many expressions of support for the press this winter,” said Salisbury, “from university administrators to librarians to educators to readers across the commonwealth. What became clear during the budget process was just how many people value what we do at the press. And that is a marvelous place to start the next seventy-five years of our history.”

The UPK75 exhibit will showcase our rich history through artifacts, book displays, historical documents, and more. The centerpiece is a timeline of that history, with artifacts and information illustrating key moments. Each of our four directors are highlighted, from Bruce F. Denbo, who was hired in 1950 and led UPK through the transition to a consortium representing fifteen different member institutions, to current director Leila W. Salisbury, who began working at the press full time in 1994 as assistant to the director. Among other items, the timeline will include our original analog database, letters and correspondence regarding the press’s founding, and interesting ephemera.

The exhibit will also include several specialized displays focusing on various aspects of press history and book production. A grouping of information on, material by, and artifacts from UPK founder, Thomas D. Clark (1903–2002), includes one of his canes, photographs, and a number of historic documents. It tells Clark’s story as it relates to the press and beyond, including his work in the UK history department and his role in founding the Kentucky Archives Commission in 1957. Other displays include artwork from renown folk artist Minnie Adkins that was featured in Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains, by Mike Norris and archival materials related to book production, including plate negatives, F&Gs, and bluelines.

Other initiatives for our 75th anniversary:

  • Cricket Press has designed a new 75th anniversary emblem.
  • UPK is a sponsor of Book Benches: A Tribute to Kentucky Authors, a collaborative public art project organized by Arts ConnectLexArts, and The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. A bench designed by artist Lora Gill and inspired by Crystal Wilkinson’s novel The Birds of Opulence will be permanently installed outside our offices on South Limestone Street.
  • A new and expanded second edition of The New History of Kentucky, by James C. Klotter and Craig Thompson Friend, will be released in October, bringing the flagship history of the commonwealth up to date.
  • UPK has initiated two new imprints with partner organizations. We will launch Andarta Books in conjunction with Brécourt Academic, publisher of the journal Global War Studies. Andarta Books will develop new books in military history and launch with books on the Battle of the Atlantic and WWII Yugoslavian prisoners of war appearing next year. Also next year, we will begin publishing a new imprint devoted to Appalachian creative writing with Hindman Settlement School—additional details to come later this year.
  • We were accepted to host one of Lexington Public Library’s Tiny Libraries, which will be permanently installed in front of our offices on South Limestone Street.
  • Horses in History, a new series edited by James C. Nicholson, will launch this fall with Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case by Milton C. Toby. The series will explore the special human-equine relationship, encompassing a broad range of topics, from ancient Chinese polo to modern Thoroughbred racing. From biographies of influential equestrians to studies of horses in literature, television, and film, this series profiles racehorses, warhorses, sport horses, and plow horses in novel and compelling ways.
  • We are partnering with Kentucky Humanities on its Kentucky Reads project for 2018, a statewide literacy initiative centering on Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, All the King’s Men. In conjunction with the program, we will publish Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men: A Reader’s Companion, by Jonathan S. Cullick, a Warren scholar and professor of English at Northern Kentucky University, who will participate in several events as part of Kentucky Reads.

“We’re committed to developing books that explore Kentucky and its citizens from new perspectives and to working in even closer partnership with our consortia and community partners, as they help us better represent the rich geographic and other diversities of the state,” said Salisbury. “We look forward to further strengthening our profile as a relevant and service-oriented operation that allows Kentucky to tell its own story.”

Derby Down on this “Bourbon Dessert”

BOURBON PARFAIT

It’s the most Kentucky time of year: Derby season! If you’re anything like us here at UPK, you’ve got a big sweet tooth, with a penchant for creating your own concoctions for special events. And, like us, you’ve already worked your way through our classic cookbook BOURBON DESSERTS (available here), and are itching for more ways to incorporate some oak-y, caramel-y goodness into your baked goods. Well, you’re in luck! Our intern spent a day and a half in the kitchen slinging sugar and butter to combine these two recipes into something to holler about. It involves some nutty, sweet-savory cookies and fluffy, rich chocolate mousse. Combined together, they make a unique parfait that’s a little bitter, a lot sweet, crunchy, creamy, and best of all, bourbon-y. Tell your party guests to hold onto their hats.

You’ll need:

A batch of “Spicy Chocolate Mousse with a Whiff of Bourbon” (pg. 108)
A batch of “Brown Butter and Bourbon Biscuits” (pg. 44) {ed. note: you won’t need the whole batch for this recipe, but trust us, you’ll want to hang onto the extras.}
Whipped cream, preferably un- or lightly sweetened.
Four to six mason jars

1. In clean mason jar, crumble part of a cookie into the bottom of the jar. This will form a base for your parfait.
2. With a piping bag, layer mousse over cookies.
3. With a separate piping bag, layer whipped cream over mousse.
4. Add new layer of cookie crumbles and repeat until jar is full to interior.
5. Dollop whipped cream beyond the rim of the jar to create inviting, fluffy cloud of deliciousness.
6. If desired, top with crumbled cookies. (Or chocolate syrup, or caramel, or pralines, or…)

Some tips:

1. If you’re making this all at once, like we did, brown the butter for the cookies first. It’ll cool to room temperature while you’re making the mousse. (If you’re in a big hurry, throw it in the fridge to save even more time.) Then, chill the mousse while you’re whipping up the cookies! #lifehacks

2. Use a piping bag for Instagram-worthy layers with no side-smearing! Don’t have a piping bag? A Ziploc baggie will do in a pinch. Just add your filling, seal shut (squeezing as much air out as possible as you do), and cut off a corner. Using a decorating tip? Simply nestle it into the bag, then cut off just enough of the corner so that the tip peeks out. Then add your filling, and get to piping!

3. Smaller mason jars work best here, in terms of portion control. (But who are we to judge?) It’d look just as appetizing in a bowl or, if you want to get cheeky with it, a stemless wine or high-ball glass.