Continuing our celebration of University Press Week, today we highlight Seminary Co-op Bookstores, one of our favorite local bookstores here in Chicago! Northwestern University Press has partnered with Seminary Co-op to launch Seminary Co-op Offsets, a new imprint that showcases outstanding work in literature and the humanities.
Seminary Co-op Offsets focuses on authors who unsettle the canon, juxtapose traditions, and boldly experiment with new forms. The lost classics, out-of-print gems, works in translation, and overlooked contemporary masterpieces will challenge and delight the serious general reader who deeply values a spirit of intellectual discovery and a commitment to the cultural value of the book. This new imprint will also highlight the rich literary history of the South Side of Chicago.
This significant collaboration between Northwestern University Press and Seminary Co-op Bookstores enshrines one of the most crucial relationships in the book industry: that between publisher and independent bookstore. In honor of Chicago’s long history of literary giants, Seminary Co-op Offsets will bring Leon Forrest’s masterpiece Divine Days back into print in February 2023. A tragicomic epic applauded by Stanley Crouch as “an adventurous masterwork that provides our literature with a signal moment,” this new edition reintroduces Divine Days, incorporating hundreds of editorial changes that the author had requested from W.W. Norton that were never made, after much of the inventory from the original publication by Another Chicago Press was destroyed in a warehouse fire.
The Seminary Co-op, located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, is a natural partner for the Press. Founded in 1961, the Seminary Co-op is stocked with the largest selection of academic volumes in the United States. Its two branches—the Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books—are among the country’s most influential independent bookstores, housing a carefully curated collection of serious nonfiction, world literature, and small and university press publications, as well as an expansive selection of children’s books. In 2019, the Seminary Co-op Bookstores became the country’s first not-for-profit bookstores whose mission is bookselling. The Seminary Co-op’s collaboration with the Press celebrates the bookstores’ sixtieth anniversary and continues a conversation about publishing books for curious readers and about the vital relationships that independent booksellers have with readers and communities.
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