You don't like to think
the fall into a bottomless despair
is too near and too easy and meaningless.
You don't want that silence to grow
deeper and deeper into you
because that growth inward stunts you,
and that is no way to continue,
and you want to continue.
And so you tell stories.
In the midst of uncertainty about the politics and policies that lie ahead, these words from Simon Ortiz, contributor to Red Rock Testimony: Three Generations of Writers Speak on Behalf of Utah’s Public Lands, offer hope, a light in the darkness. We humans have been telling stories for as long as we’ve had language, bringing to each other our experience, culture, and selves. As 2016 draws to a close, I look back at the stories Torrey House Press brought to the page in our first full year as a nonprofit and peer ahead to the projects that await us in 2017 as we share voices for the land with readers and supporters.
This past year, Founding Friends of Torrey House Press subscriptions and donations made possible new projects and publications, and a new partnership with the University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Program brought Brooke Larsen as a THP fellow. Alisha Anderson, a graduate of the Environmental Humanities program, joined THP to manage grant writing, community development, and design. After nearly five years at THP, Anne Terashima left to pursue graduate studies in Chicago though she’s freelancing her terrific marketing and copyediting skills to enhance and sharpen each THP title.
Throughout 2016, subscribers and readers saw characters grapple with transformation in Bev Magennis’s novel Alibi Creek; climate change in Charlene D’Avanzo’s debut mystery Cold Blood, Hot Sea; perplexing wildness in Scott Graham’s Yellowstone Standoff, the third National Park Mystery; and homelessness in Charlie Quimby’s Inhabited, sister novel to Monument Road. The year also saw the development of Red Rock Testimony from first conversation with editor Stephen Trimble to copies of the limited-edition, art-as-advocacy chapbook delivered to every member of Congress and Obama Administration officials by Steve and me in June. The summer also featured the successful Kickstarter campaign to fund Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears, a powerful collection edited by Jacqueline Keeler. Both these titles have important work to do, inspiring hearts and provoking action to protect imperiled wonders in America’s red rock country. They will appear in bookstores in Spring 2017, preceded by Ana Maria Spagna’s young adult novel, The Luckiest Scar on Earth, in February and Mary Sojourner’s short fiction collection, The Talker, in March. Colleen Cooper’s debut novel The Myth of Wile E and Nature Love Medicine: The Practice of Natural History, an extraordinary anthology edited by Tom Fleischner will be published in late summer. Also in the works is a book on the Gold King mine spill and pollution in the southern Rockies by High Country News contributor Jonathan Thompson.
Throughout 2017, THP will develop new projects that illuminate issues about public lands, climate change, and the people and politics of the American West. Conservation advocates face considerable challenges ahead, and story can generate the cultural groundswell that moves ideas forward. Thanks to readers and supporters like you, Torrey House Press will keep publishing books that sustain hope, convey culture, inspire action.
And you want to continue.
And so you tell stories.
Kirsten Johanna Allen
Publisher & Executive Director