Butterflies and Black Panthers

Latest offerings from the University of Arkansas Press range wide

By Maylon T. Rice

While the fall selections from most publishing houses, especially those academic presses like the University of Arkansas Press, are small and lackluster, the tiny University of Arkansas publishing arm headquartered in the historic McIlroy House on campus – is offering some real books and partnerships of interest.

The UA Press is already offering books published by Phoenix International, a small independent press here in Fayetteville, and have now added the books of The Ozarks Society to their catalog.

The Ozarks Society, long a stalwart in the preservation of the Ozark Highland, has a tri-fold mission of conservation, education and recreation. The educational mission of the organization has always revolved around the printing, marketing and selling some of the most breathtaking books about the Ozarks.

In the new partnership, the UA Press will help market The Ozark Society books. It is a win-win situation, according to Thomas Lavoie, director marketing and sales marketing with the UA Press.

“We had approached them (The Ozarks Society) to see if they would be interested in such a relationship, as many university presses do distribution for regional publishers,” Lavoie said.

After talking over the issues, the bight green and yellow logo of The Ozark Society is now included in the pages of the fall catalog of books from the UA Press.

There is a two-page spread on The Ozarks Society books, featuring nine of the most popular volumes. Listed in the catalog are memorable books, such as “The Buffalo River In Black and White” by the late Dr. Neil Compton; the “Buffalo River Handbook” by Kenneth L. Smith; and a trio of Carl Hunter’s botanical series, specifically “Wildflowers of Arkansas,” “Trees, Shrubs and Vines of Arkansas,” and “Autumn Leaves and Winter Berries of Arkansas.”

The goal for both the UA Press and The Ozarks Society, Lavoie said, is getting the books placed in stores and with wholesalers, as well on Internet sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in order to reach new audiences.

The venture is already paying dividends, Lavoie said. “We’ve been getting very positive feedback from our customers as well as from The Ozark Society itself – they are very pleased with the relationship.”

One of the premier books in the fall offerings is one that nature lovers all across the state have been waiting for – “Arkansas Butterflies and Moths” by Lori A. Spencer with a forward by Robert Michael Pyle. Don R. Simons is the principal photographer for the book. The book is 300-page in a 6 by 9 inch format with 363 color photographs, drawings, maps, indexes and glossary. The book will join “Birds of Arkansas” and “Mammals of Arkansas,” which have been great sellers and time honored references books.

The “centerpiece” book of the fall collection, Lavoie, predicts will be “Up Against The Wall: Violence In The
Making and Unmasking of the Black Panther Party,” by
Curtis J. Austin. Elbert “Big Man” Howard, a founding member of the Black Panther Party and editor of the Black Panther Party Newspaper, wrote the forward for the book. This book, a 420 page cloth-backed book with some 20 photographs and 12 drawings, carries a price tag of $34.95. The book has already been hailed in advance reviews as “good historical scholarship about the Black Panther Party.”

Another blockbuster book on sports and African American history, is “Out of the Shadows: A Biographical History of African American Athletes,” edited by David K. Wiggins. The book profiles well-known athletes such as Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson. But the book also details stories of Jimmy Winkfield, an early African American jockey; Ora Washington, an early African American female athlete; and Marshall “Major” Taylor, the fastest bicycle rider in the world. This book is more than just stories about athletes and their accomplishments it also looks at their struggles and furnishes perspectives on the changing status of these athletes.

From Phoenix International, is the new novella by Alison Moore, “The Middle Of Elsewhere.” Moore divides her time between Fayetteville and Terlingua, Texas. Her imagination and the scenarios in her latest work, will lead the reader on travels to the wilds of the imagination.

Other books out this fall include:
– “Walking Stone: Inventions On The Life of Harriet Hosmer,” a collection of poems by Carole Simmons Oles.

– “Fire Baton,” poems by Elizabeth Hadaway,

– “Eutaw: A Sequel to The Forayers, or The Raid of
the Dog Days,” by William Gilmore Simms, edited by
David W. Newton. This will be the ninth book in the William
Gilmore Simms series published by the UA Press. This may be the most scholarly book of the fall selection.

– “Where You Stand Is Where You Sit: An Academic-Administrator’s Handbook,” by Robert V. Smith. This book details the keys for academic administrators in today’s society.

The UA Press is also reissuing paperback versions of some of its popular hardbacks, such as “Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love In The Segregated South” and “A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas,” a book in The Civil War in The West series.

A full list of all the University of Arkansas Press
books can be found at www.uarkpress.com.

Press Honors

Five books published by the University of Arkansas Press received honors this year.

– Shirley Abbott’s “The Bookmaker’s Daughter” was selected by The Center For The Book in Little Rock, as the 2006 If All Arkansans Read The Same Book. The UA Press re-issued the book as a paperback in 2005.

– Kathleen Rooney’s “Reading With Oprah,” was a finalist in the popular culture category of The Independent Publisher Book Awards for 2006.

– The popular, “Dinarzad’s Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction” was awarded a Silver Medal Award in ForeWord Magazine’s anthologies category. The book was displayed in the winner’s display at the annual
Bookseller’s Association Conference in Washington D.C. in May and at the Frankfurt Book Show in Germany.

– Gary Fincke’s poetry collection “Standing Around The Heart,” was a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize.

– Jo McDougall, author of “From Darkening Porches,” a UA Press book, had two poems featured this summer on Garrison Keillor’s show, Writer’s Almanac.

Categories: Features