Dark Coast Press is a new literary press in the burgeoning book scene of Seattle.
So many great books are being written and published right now, it’s overwhelming! A debut novel on an indie literary press won the Pulitzer! If small triumphs like that don’t make us excited, not just as publishers but personally, as readers, what will? Big stories, new narratives, transformational rants on the marriage of love and horror. We’re addicted to good books, we utterly love them, to a creepy, swooning degree. Their place in the health of our human race is permanent and obvious. Dark Coast is just one part of that collective effort of readers, authors, editors, publishers, and booksellers, that gives books their well-earned place in our lives.
Dark Coast goes after titles that are seriously inventive and adhere to the responsibilities of the craft that make books both readable and works of art. If one part of that equation is off a project feels imbalanced. A book that is too experimental isn’t palatable or interesting for a wide range of readers. And books that depend on generic language and simplistic devices bore us to death. The genius is there when those tendencies of both form and content, tone and structure, meaning and delivery, all come together at once. That is what we are always striving to find, and oh, how we cry with joy when we do.
While we’re founded on literary fiction, we have a unique approach to things. For an indie publisher to survive in the 21st century you can’t be a starving old literary press whose sole mission is to popularize strange and underappreciated manuscripts. Our view covers works from all camps and genres as long as they are well-crafted, intelligent, and purposeful. With our eyes on quality, story, and aesthetics, we look at books as far reaching as Fantasy, Memoir, and YA. We encourage writers to take risks, and we want our readers to follow them into uncharted territory. We love crazy books. Old, new, and unfathomable ones. Calm and clear ones. Simply put (it’s become something of a Dark Coast motto): we publish books we like. You’d think that was stupidly simple, but in fact the book industry has a funny way of making simple principles extremely complicated. But that’s the way we do it.
DCP started off in 2009 with Jarret Middleton’s debut An Dantomine Eerly. It’s an excellent language-heavy novel about a dying Irish-American poet that Paul Constant from The Stranger said “calls back to centuries of Irish literary tradition, from the aisling to James Joyce’s giddy molestation of language.” We wanted to start with a bang, and we certainly did. Dark Coast threw festive readings, and participated in many other literary events around the Northwest, including events with Richard Hugo House, Third Place Books, Pilot Books, SPLAB!, The Seattle7, and more. We started working with Ingram Publisher Services (IPS) for national distribution and sales of all our books. And we sent Jarret back home on a book tour for ADE through the Northeast that included bookstores, bars, living rooms, and even a barn in a field in Maine.
Two new titles are coming out this upcoming season. David Belczyk’s debut Elynia and Other Stories and Jennifer Natalya Fink’s 13 Fugues.
Elynia and Other Stories is a gorgeous and accessible collection of one novella and six stories that captures a cast of lone characters in purely distilled vignettes. David Belczyk is the author of two poetry books and this is his first debut in fiction. We’re so excited to give readers the chance to see this side of his work in the Spring of 2011.
13 Fugues is an amazing series of thirteen related stories narrated by Tanya Irene Shwartz, an eccentric 30-year-old Jewish-American woman who entertains a fascination with everything from Jewish law to American pop culture, world records, American flags, older men, and the erotic relationship she has with her sister. (That’s right.) Jennifer Fink is the author of Burn, V, and The Mikvah Queen, and is assistant professor of English at Georgetown University. Stories in 13 Fugues have appeared in numerous places in print and online journals, and have won Story Magazine’s Short Fiction Award and The Georgetown Review’s Fiction Award. Jennifer has also won the Dana Award for the Novel, and was a finalist for The National Book Award, The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and the National Jewish Book Award.
Readers are going to start seeing a lot of quality books from Dark Coast Press. Consider it trust building. We want potential authors and readers alike to know the amount of love, hardship, and fun that goes into every step of publishing. We get books all the time that we would love to publish, but for one reason or another – not the quality of the manuscript – we just can’t. Then there are the ones whose merits we come to realize over time, and have to really fight to get them through. The number one goal for us, again, it seems simple but is very demanding, is to bring people the infinite scope of characters, times, places, experiences, and ecstasies they could never experience, or in the best case, never even imagine by themselves. As go books, so goes the world. And we believe that people are re-discovering a world they thought they knew but no longer do. We are too. We’re part of it.