New Voices and Fresh Perspectives Offered by New Princeton Publisher
Perspectives that fall outside of what the typical reader finds on the Borders bookshelves will be the focus of a new, Princeton-based publishing company. Hanna Fox, publisher of Red Hummingbird Press, has designed her new company to give readers more literary options and will begin to do so with the release of Candle in a Dark Time, by Princeton writer Virginia Stuart.
"Our mission is to publish authors whose works make social statements but may fall outside the mainstream market," Ms. Fox said in her company's mission statement. "We'd like our books to reflect the complexities, contradictions, and diversity of the human condition."
Ms. Fox established Red Hummingbird Press with another writer, Robin Cunningham, and her son, David Fox. Ms. Fox said the company does not actively search out Princeton-area writers, but as a long time writer in New Jersey, she has found Princeton is a good base to begin.
"We plan to start locally, do special events, and then reach out further," she said.
Of course, central to this enterprise, is Ms. Fox's appreciation for books and her being a writer. She knows what she would like to see more of on the bookstore shelves and feels that there is a demand for literature that takes different perspectives.
"I've been a writer my whole life," Ms. Fox said before discussing her extensive career in writing. A career that, one can argue, began anew when she "retired" from her former professional lifestyle to spearhead her new enterprise.
She taught writing at the YWCA in Princeton in the 1970s and founded a writers' center in the early 1980s with fellow Princeton writer, Flora Davis. She has taught writing at Mercer County Community College Adult School, and currently teaches at the Princeton Adult School.
In her tenure, Ms. Fox has come upon many manuscripts that fellow writers have failed to get published because subject content or perspectives fell outside the mainstream.
Ms. Fox first came across Ms. Stuart's Manuscript in the mid-90s. and even then, she said, she felt the book handled a subject that needed attention. The historical-fiction account takes place in a coastal town in Denmark in 1943 and focuses on four sisters who learn that their Je- wish friends are to be taken to concentration camps.
As the story unfolds, their dilemma is whether to get involved to prevent this action or to remain uninvolved.
"I really felt [Candle] should be our first publication," Ms. Fox said. "It tells a story that is not well-known. There have been few fictionalized accounts of the Danish rescue, and we believe it's important to make this story more available to the general public."
Ms. Stuart feels that her book and Red Hummingbird Press compliment each other, and that she was actually trying to stay away from what she endearingly refers to as "mega-publishers."
"I think people are terribly bored with the same old stuff," Ms. Stuart said referring to what regularly appears on the bestsellers list. She made clear her aversion to the prospect of dealing with companies who perpetually try to churn out "big press blockbusters making mega money for stockholders."
Red Hummingbird Press plans to publish three books a year. The company is not limited to specific genres and will include works of fiction, memoir, biography, autobiography, nonfiction, and poetry.
Candle in a Dark Time was released Tuesday, October 21, and was celebrated as part of the Adult Education Program of the Jewish Center in Princeton, marking the 60th anniversary of the October 1943 rescue of almost all Denmark's 7,800 Jews.