10th Feb 2011
Three things we love here at For Books’ Sake: female writers, independent publishers and D.I.Y approaches. What luck then, that we happened upon Dorothy.
Dorothy Project is a publishing project, “dedicated to works of fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women.” Based in Urbana, Illinois the project was founded by Danielle Dutton who had a love of books, admiration for independent presses and a burning desire to ‘start something’. Dutton herself is a writer, defying convention and producing work that has been described as a blend of fiction, poetry, biography and theory (Attempts at a Life) and “verbal still life” (Sprawl). She is also a mother of a young child, a book designer and, now, editor and publisher – a life full of creativity, literature and the wearing of many hats.
Danielle Dutton had been working in publishing, surrounding herself with books, making books, reading them and “just being with them.” Her energy found a focus in Renee Gladman, a woman whose poetic and innovative prose crashes wildly through genre boundaries. Dutton heard there was a manuscript, thought Gladman was an important female writer and realised that she wanted to publish fiction, to “bring different kinds of books and audiences into conversation.” Gladman’s first book in a trilogy about the fictional city-state of Ravicka, Event Factory, is available now from Dorothy, with the second instalment, The Ravickians, to follow in March. Dorothy has also published a reprint of Barbara Comyns‘ Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, bringing a book written 57 years ago to a new audience. The work of these two writers is very different, something that excites Dutton and drives this project forward.
A passion for experimentation and a desire to keep publishing personal mark Dorothy out from a number of presses who favour quantity over quality. Small and, quite possibly, perfectly formed.
For the curious amongst you, the press is named after Dorothy Traver – librarian, author, gardener, animal and art lover, bookmobile driver and Great Aunt – who “on each birthday and holiday gave a book with an owl bookplate.” (And the beautiful owl logo that has stolen my heart is by young artist Yelena Bryksenkova).