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Know the West

Indie presses in the West

A selection of small publishers from around the region.


Astrophil Press 
(2008, University of South Dakota, Vermillion)

Astrophil publishes fiction, poetry and literary criticism, as well as work that defies traditional genres. The press is dedicated to publishing innovative work that is “fertile in imagination and mind,” the kind of writing that “actively break(s) boundaries.”

Atelier26 Books 
(2011, Portland, Oregon)

Atelier26 “exists to demonstrate the powers and possibilities of literature through beautifully designed and expressive books,” viewing literature as “contemplation, conversation, and provocation.” A tiny operation headquartered in its founder’s spare bedroom, Atelier26 publishes one or two titles per year.

Atelier26 cover designer Nathan Shields.
Courtesy of Atelier26

Counterpoint Press
(2007, Berkeley, California)

Counterpoint publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels and anthologies. Subject matter includes politics, the counterculture, memoir, religion and philosophy. The press is “author-driven,” devoting “all energy to the fresh, cutting-edge, and literary voices of our authors.”

Dock Street Press
(2012, Seattle, Washington)

With the philosophy that “extraordinary work should never be determined by a select, deep-pocketed few,” Dock Street Press prides itself on publishing risk-taking fiction and narrative nonfiction from up-and-coming writers. “We believe a book is a piece of art,” the company’s website says.

Dock Street Salon, an event to introduce new authors to readers in Seattle.
Courtesy of Dock Street Press

Forest Avenue Press
(2012, Portland, Oregon)

Forest Avenue publishes “page-turning literary fiction” with a “fresh, complex, sometimes nutty, and often-wondrous” approach to storytelling. The press also facilitates the Main Street Writers Movement, whose goal is “amplifying underrepresented voices and supporting regional literary organizations and businesses.”

Future Tense Books
(1990, Portland, Oregon)

Future Tense, which began with “scrappy Xeroxed chapbooks,” publishes memoir, poetry and unusual fiction. It’s “dedicated to publishing work by people often thought of as weirdos or outsiders,” according to the website. “Their books will make you laugh, sweat, and hallucinate.”

Hawthorne Books 
(2002, Portland, Oregon)

Hawthorne Books describes itself as having “a national scope and deep regional roots,” with a focus in literary fiction and innovative nonfiction. Hawthorne’s titles are the result of collaborative editing and “fierce commitment to the dignity of the book and its reader.”

Les Figues Press
(2005, Los Angeles, California)

Les Figues publishes poetry, prose, visual art, conceptual writing and translation. With a feminist editorial vision, its mission is to “create aesthetic conversations between readers, writers, and artists.”

A shipment of the book "I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women."
Courtesy of Les Figues Press

Magic Helicopter Press
(2007, Ashland, Oregon; now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Magic Helicopter publishes poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction across platforms. Its paper books are “collectible art items,” its e-books are “experiences aware of their digital space,” and the company also publishes “experimental multimedia projects.” “We are literature with a passiflora caerulea for a rotor,” says the website. “We land on your head.”

Red Hen Press
(1994, Pasadena, California)

Red Hen includes two imprints: Arktoi Books, focused on work by lesbian writers, and Boreal Books, dedicated to work from Alaska. Red Hen’s mission is to publish works of literary excellence — spanning poetry, literary fiction and nonfiction — while supporting diversity and promoting literacy in Los Angeles-area schools.

Stalking Horse Press
(2016, Santa Fe, New Mexico)

The press is “committed to radical voices” in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Founder James Reich told says the company seeks work that is “spiky, angular, errant.” A portion of the proceeds from each book goes to a humanitarian or charitable organization selected by the author.

Tin House Books
(2002, Portland, Oregon)

Along with producing Tin House Magazine, “the singular lovechild of an eclectic literary journal and a beautiful glossy magazine,” Tin House publishes about a dozen books a year. Tin House showcases both established and undiscovered writers.

Torrey House Press team plans an event for a new book.
Courtesy of Torrey House Press

Torrey House Press
(2010, Salt Lake City, Utah)

Torrey House publishes books about the changing American West and the changing planet. Through memoir, environmental writing, narrative nonfiction and literary fiction, they seek to educate and inspire action with the belief that engaging in the “conversation of conservation” contributes to Wallace Stegner’s hoped-for “society to match the scenery.”

Rebecca Worby is an editorial fellow at HCN. Her work has appeared in Pacific Standard and Orion.