New Directions was founded in 1936, when James Laughlin, then a twenty-two-year-old Harvard student, issued the first of the New Directions anthologies.  New Directions was intended "as a place where experimentalists could test their inventions by publication.  Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, who once had difficulty finding publishers, were early New Directions authors and have remained at the core of ND's backlist of modernist writers.  Tennessee Williams made his first appearance as a poet in the early Five Young American Poets, which was published by New Directions.  Although New Directions started in the service of verbal revolution, it also reprinted Henry James, E.M. Forster, and Evelyn Waugh when other publishers would not; when no one would print F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack Up, ND did; when The Great Gatsby was out of print, New Directions brought it back. New Directions has published nearly 20 of Henry Miller's unorthodox essays and travel books and first printed James Joyce's Stephen Hero, Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, and brought back into print books of such importance as Gary's Promise at Dawn, Henry Green's Back, Joyce Cary's Second Trilogy, and Nathaniel West's Miss Lonelyhearts. This tradition is carried on today in our series of New Directions Classics. Begun in 1981, this series has brought back works by Sherwood Anderson, Kay Boyle and H.E. Bates, among many others, and introduced works by little-known European masters such as Eça de Queirós, Krleza, and Kosztolányi.

In addition, ND has relaunched many classics recently with introductions by contemporary authors: these include Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (Introduction by Arthur Miller) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Introduction by Edward Albee), John Hawkes' Second Skin (Introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides), and John Gardner's October Light (Introduction by Tom Bissell).

Its authors have won the Nobel Prize (Frédéric Mistral, Eugenio Montale, Pablo Neruda, Saint-John Perse, Octavio Paz, José Camilo Cela), Pulitzer Prize (Richard Eberhart, Selected Poems 1930-1965; George Oppen, Of Being Numerous; Gary Snyder, Turtle Island; Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire; William Carlos Williams, Pictures from Brueghel), MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (Walter Abish, Allen Grossman, and Ralph Manheim, translator), and the PEN/Faulkner Award (Walter Abish, How German Is it?; Toby Olson, Seaview), among many others.
New Directions authors inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters include Robert Creeley, James Laughlin and Gary Snyder. James Laughlin was the recipient of the American Academy and Institute Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts, the Annual P.E.N. Publisher Citation, and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature. In 1980, he was the first winner of the New York State Arts Council James Laughlin Award for distinguished achievement in independent publishing. Laughlin passed away in 1997.
New Directions now publishes about 30 books annually in hardcover and paperback.
(top photo, from left: Lyn Roberts, Cody Morrison, David Swider, & Richard Howorth outside Square Books) 

Yale Historian, Dr. David Blight speaks on campus Nov. 16

Author and Historian, David Blight, will be speaking on campus on November 16 at Nutt Auditorium.  His new book, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, and Our Own Time, is available at Square Books and online.

Dr. Blight has served as a Professor of History at Yale University since 2003 where he also serves as the Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Before Yale, Dr. Blight taught at Harvard, North Central College, and Amherst College. Dr. Blight earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before his professional career, Dr. Blight served as a high school teacher for seven years in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. He currently teaches seminars in the nineteenth-century U.S. History, African-American history, and historical memory. 

You can find all of his books here

Go here for a full story on the event via the University of Mississippi's website. 


This fall there is a bounty of wild tales for readers who crave adventure, insanity and violence. First for the madmen. One of our favorite intrepid travel writers, Richard Grant, has a new book entitled Crazy River (Free Press, pb, $15.00). Beginning in Zanzibar, Grant crosses the Indian Ocean and heads into the heart of Africa where he rafts an uncharted river in Tanzania then heads up through war torn Burundi and finishes up in the budding dictatorship of Rwanda. Grant travels with present day explorers, hunters, degenerates, gangsters, and local reporters, documenting life, landscape, and the history of exploration in East Africa. Next up is Mile Marker Zero (Crown, hc, $25.00) by William McKeen. Just as Hemingway and Fitzgerald had Paris in the twenties, there was another generation of writers and artists who had their own moveable feast in the seventies in Key West, Florida. Tom McGuane, Jim Harrison, Hunter Thompson, Tennesse Williams, and Jimmy Buffett to name a few all clocked time on the island. As you can imagine, there are some pretty great stories here and McKeen has done his homework spinning a tight narrative of the history of the island interwoven with the story of this creative group of now legendary people.

Now for the badmen. Many of you know about the Rough South of Larry Brown and Harry Crews. Well, turns out things are pretty rough in the Midwest too. Crimes in Southern Indiana (FSG, pb, $15.00) is a debut short story collection that will stand up and kick you in the teeth. Frank Bill's Indiana is populated by backwoods gunrunners, bare-knuckle brawlers, rednecks, and meth heads trying to survive in the Heartland while union jobs and family farms are going by the wayside. Things are just as rough in the Missouri Ozarks, the stomping grounds of another of our favorite writers, Daniel Woodrell. His new book is The Outlaw Album (Little Brown, hc, $24.99). It's the first collection of short fiction from this master of country noir who has justly gotten a lot more attention due to his fine novel, Winter's Bone, being made into a successful Oscar nominated film. So take a slug from your favorite bottle and get reading cause these books are gonna take you on some of the wildest rides you're ever gonna take between the covers of a book.  CM


The second edition of the popular coffee-table book, Mississippians, is now available for pre order. The book profiles more than 350 Mississippians with more than 300 new photographs as well as tons of new features, including:

• The founder of the O. Henry prize
• The most decorated soldier in U.S. Army history
• The man who first bottled Coca-Cola
• The first woman to win a Pulitzer for Editorial Writing
• The man who taught Stephen Sondheim composition
• The first woman to own a major newspaper
• The world’s foremost physiologist
• The man who brought America reality television
• The youngest star on I Love Lucy
• The first American to fight fascism
and hundreds more.

 On Sale November 15, 2011. Click here to order. 


Ann Abadie Endowment for the Oxford Conference for the Book

Ann Abadie, a great friend to writers, books, and readers, and the longtime Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, is retiring this year. To honor Ann, the University of Mississippi has established an endowment to support the Oxford Conference for the Book, which Ann, along with Richard Howorth, founded more than 18 years ago. We encourage anyone interested in the endowment to send a contribution to The University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677-0249 or contact Michael Upton at the Foundation, mupton[at]olemiss.edu or 662-915-3027. Contributors should write checks to The University of Mississippi Foundation, designating the check to the Ann Abadie Endowment number 05149. 















(Ann Abadie with Richard Howorth at a book-signing for Etheridge Knight at Square Books, November, 1979. Photograph by William R. Ferris)