We’re having a little summer fun here at the press in the form of our very first children’s book — a book written by my own little one, Maxine. She is 13 now, so maybe not technically so little anymore, and certainly not “little” in her opinions.
Well, we did it: We managed to produce an audiobook! It was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but the time and expense of it all was always a turnoff. With author-funding, however, it was doable — and that’s how we got ParentShift made into an audiobook.
Now, as personally fulfilling as it’s been — and as proud that I am of the finished product — and as glad I am that my amazing co-authors agreed to publish the book through Brown Paper Press — I would very much like to NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. It’s just too difficult wearing the cap of publisher and author at the same time. I
Peter has been in New York this week workshopping his adaptation of The Inheritance of Shame with a bunch of Broadway actors — and will speak about it at The Center in Chelsea on Tuesday — and, dammit, it’s all just hugely exciting.
Of all the aspects of bringing a a book to life, the cover design is, by far, one of the most fun. We have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful designers here and abroad, but none as well known as Joan Wong, the designer for our latest book.
Conversion therapy survivor Peter Gajdics, the author of our own Inheritance of Shame, has a lot to celebrate these days. In addition to bringing much-needed awareness to efforts to ban conversion therapy for gay youth and adults in his native Canada and beyond, he also has been contracted to adapt his book into a play. How cool is that?
When you publish as few books as we do, every one needs to be fantastic. That’s my philosophy, at least. There have been a lot of “almost-fantastics” that have come our way in the last year — more and more every day, thankfully. But none of them reached out and grabbed me until September—when I received Sandra Miller’s debut, Trove.
I am thrilled to announce that Brown Paper Press will be releasing its fifth title — a parenting book — this spring. ParentShift: Ten Universal Truths That Will Change the Way You Raise your Kids will launch on May 7, 2019, and is now available for pre-sale.
When author Peter Gajdics was 23 years old, he came out to his parents. It didn't go well. Today, because of Peter's own personal lobbying efforts, the city of Vancouver became the first city in Canada to ban all forms of conversion therapy for both minors and adults.
We are thrilled to announce that The Inheritance of Shame: A Memoir was named today as a finalist for the prestigious Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction.
Awarded by The Publisher's Triangle, an association for lesbian and gay men in publishing, the Randy Shilts Award is an honor shared by David France (How to Survive a Plague), Barney Frank (Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage), and David Sedaris (Naked).
The winner will be announced at the 30th annual Triangle Awards, celebrating the best LGBTQ books of 2017. The ceremony will be held on April 26, 2018, at the New School in New York City, at 7 p.m.
The four finalists for the Randy Shilts Award are:
Brilliant Imperfection, by Eli Clare (Duke University Press)
The Inheritance of Shame, by Peter Gajdics (Brown Paper Press)
Lives of Great Men, by Chike Frankie Edozien (Team Angelica Publishing)
Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic, by Richard A. McKay (University of Chicago Press
The night before the awards, Peter will be among a select number of Triangle Awards finalists participating in a reading at the Bureau of General Services, Queer Division — the bookstore inside the LGBT Community Services Center in Manhattan. The event is free to the public.
Please join us in congratulating Canadian author Peter Gajdics, whose breathtaking memoir — The Inheritance of Shame — will be published by Brown Paper Press this spring.
The Inheritance of Shame chronicles the six years Gajdics spent in a bizarre form of conversion therapy that attempted to “cure” him of his homosexuality. You can read more about the book here, or on the book's website — inheritanceofshame.com
We cannot tell you how proud we are to have this memoir in our small but slowly growing arsenal. The book is a page-turner, to be sure, but also is an inspirational glimpse at the power of compassion, resilience and self-acceptance.
And, as you'll soon see, it took a hell of a lot of courage to write it.
We expect the book will be of special interest to Americans curious about conversion therapy, as Vice President-Elect Mike Pence has thrown his support church-based therapies in the past. This, despite reams of evidence proving such tactics are both fruitless and damaging.
The Inheritance of Shame will be published on May 16 — during Long Beach’s Pride Week. Stay tuned for news of Peter's launch party and book tour. As always, we'd love to see you there.
Oh! And the beautiful cover was designed by the Alban Fischer, whose other work can be found here.
September was an amazing month here at our little press, thanks in large part to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. By choosing Tim Grobaty's "I'm Dyin' Here: A Life in the Paper," he not only brought much-deserved exposure to Tim's wonderful book, but he threw his support behind a largely unknown entity: Us! (And, dang, do we appreciate it.)
Plus-also, the mayor's flagship event at the beautiful Beverly O'Neill Theater Sept. 15, was So Much. Fun. Grobaty, a notorious nervous wreck in public, was in fine form — engaging and hilarious. Kudos go to the mayor, too, who had a bag full of great questions for his fellow liberal Democrat, neither of whom shied away from the controversial topic of politics. (At one point, Tim was asked what led him to his political philosophy. "Well, I got an education," he quipped.)
One of our personal favorite moments came at the beginning of the audience-participation portion of the event, when former Mayor Bob Foster took the mic and spoke in glowing terms about both Tim and his book to the crowd of some 250 people. "You've been a tremendous asset to this city," Foster said.
And then there was the woman who asked what profession Tim would have chosen if he couldn't have picked journalism. "Probably marine biology," Tim answered, at which point Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific stood up to offer Tim a job if the whole journalism thing doesn't work out.
Tim has been writing for the Press-Telegram for 40 years — and has been the paper's most well-read daily columnists for a great number of them. He also has written three books about the history of Long Beach. At one point during the evening, he acknowledged that, having written about the city's lore for so long — he felt as though he has become a part of it. And when asked whether he'd ever kept a journal, Tim said: "My column. Really, my column is my journal."
You can read about the event in the media here and here.The whole thing was filmed and will be available to watch online at some point — we'll keep you posted. But in the meantime, please consider joining Tim at our next two events.
We had a helluva time this weekend at the LA Times Festival of Books. It was truly exhausting being "on" all the time — but we loved meeting so many readers and writers... and writers and writers and writers. (THERE WERE SO MANY WRITERS!) We even got a bunch of pitches — including some genuinely interesting ones — and were thrilled to double the size of our mailing list by giving away our "totes adorbs" totes. (Jesus, did I really just write that? Kill me now.)
• Chatting with Johnny from Akashic Books — the Brooklyn-based publisher whose company EXPLODED after publishing Go the F**k to Sleep. Can we please have that happen to us now? Please?
• A visit by Manchester, England-based Ryan Doyle of the design duo DR.ME, which designed the cover for Burden by Water.
• Watching Kramer chat up festival-goers in front our booth. (And, yes, we did set it up so our logo would be in the shot. What?)
• Checking out one of our (many) favorite bands, I See Hawks in LA, which played on the stage right behind us.
• Hearing that some folks had shown up at the Jane Austin Society booth (next door to ours) wondering if the author was going to be signing books. Um. Yeah. She's been dead for 200 years, but it's great to hear you're such a big fan.
Anyway, for those who came out, THANK YOU! And for those who bought books, THANK YOU x 100. :-)
We've had a heck of an exciting week here at the plant.
First, we got some great press from the Long Beach Post and the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Very grateful to have such strong local coverage here in the LBC. Speaking of which: A feature in the Long Beach Business Journal's "Women in Business" section is forthcoming, as well. Because we're women, see. In business. Look for that one March 1.
Then we had a great turnout at Fingerprints Saturday night at the launch for Tim Grobaty's I'm Dyin' Here and Alan Rifkin's Burdens by Water. The authors read passages from their books — making us laugh, cry and think in equal measure. Okay, we really didn't cry. At all. But there was wine. And who needs to cry when there's wine? There also was music — local musician 8 Good Fingers (not his real name, but his real amount of fingers) played for a while. (Really well, too, considering the number of fingers). And Dave Alvin (founding member of the Blaster's who is now on tour with Phil Alvin) sent a super-nice note of support — calling Rifkin "sharp, brave, curious, a touch sarcastic and more than a little wild" — which Rand (the owner of Fingerprints) read aloud.
Following that, on Monday, book critic David Kipen plugged Brown Paper Press and our new releases on an episode of KPCC's Take Two. It was a two-minute bit (the radio equivalent of years), during which Kipen called us "wonderfully quixotic" (We are choosing to take that as a compliment) and even ventured to guess that presses like ours might someday make Manhattan publishing houses hang their heads in shame. (Not gonna hold our breaths on that one, but we sure appreciated the sentiment.) Click here to listen. (Our bit starts at 1:32:35.)
By the way, are the parentheticals in this post driving you crazy yet? (Too bad.)
Which brings us to today — the official publication date for Burdens by Water and I'm Dyin' Here. You can read the excellent Q&As with Rifkin and Grobaty on Deborah Kalb's book blog (click here and here). We'll try to pop back in and give you an update at week's end, but to follow developments in real time, be sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. (Oh, and one last parenthetical: Do check out Tim's column about his book in yesterday's PT. Goddamn hilarious.)
As always, thanks for the support. We know it's cliche, but it's true: We couldn't do this without you.
PBS NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown recently interviewed author Wendy Thomas Russell about her book, Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious. We're incredibly proud of and grateful for the national exposure, given that Brown Paper Press is a startup indie press and very much still in its infancy. (Our frequent crying spells attest to that.)
Check out the clip at the PBS site, and if you're interested in more details, be sure to head over to Wendy's website to read more about her trip and tour of the NewsHour studios.