History

Alice James Books is a nonprofit cooperative poetry press, founded in 1973 by five women and two men: Patricia Cumming, Marjorie Fletcher, Jean Pedrick, Lee Rudolph, Ron Schreiber, Betsy Sholl and Cornelia Veenendaal. Their objectives were to give women access to publishing and to involve authors in the publishing process.

The press remains true to that mission and to publishing a diversity of poets including both beginning and established poets, and a diversity of poetic styles. The press is named for Alice James—the sister of novelist Henry James and philosopher William James—whose fine journal and gift for writing were unrecognized during her lifetime.

Since 1994, the press has been affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington. The press educates up to 14 interns per year through individual writing apprenticeships. Alice James Books also serves to train and advise the on-campus, bi-annual literary journal, The Sandy River Review.

Alice James Books is one of the original and few presses in the country that is run collectively. Our cooperative selects manuscripts for publication through both regional and national annual competitions. The cooperative offers two book competitions a year: the Kinereth Gensler Award and the Beatrice Hawley Award. The winners of the Kinereth Gensler Award competition become active members of Alice James Books and act as the editorial board after their manuscripts are selected for publication. The winner of the Beatrice Hawley Award is exempt from the cooperative work commitment.

Alice James Books ALSO established two series: the AJB Translation Series and The Kundiman Poetry Prize. The press partners with Kundiman, a nonprofit organization devoted to the promotion and preservation on Asian American poetry, to present The Kundiman Poetry Prize: a book-length manuscript competition open to all Asian American poets with any number of published books. The inaugural competition took place in 2010.