Thursday, May 5, 2016

UPM turns 46 years-old this May

May 1st, 1970 marks University Press of Mississippi’s official birthday.

The photograph below is Dr. Robert Cecil Cook, UPM's founding director. Cook was President of the University of Southern Mississippi when this photograph was taken in 1949, and the “Photograph of Robert Cecil Cook, University President from 1945-1954” is courtesy of Special Collections, McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi.

We recently discovered some interesting facts about the UPM's first days. From summaries of Dr. Cook’s personal papers in the McCain Library and Archives at USM we learn:
“In 1968, Governor John Bell Williams appointed Cook to a twelve year term on the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning, and he served as president of that body during the 1976-77 fiscal year. 
As a member of the Board of Trustees, Cook discovered that Mississippi was one of only two states with no university press. To remedy the situation, he secured support from the board and the state's major colleges and universities, and in 1970, he organized the University and College Press of Mississippi, which operated on the second floor of the Student Union Building (now McLemore Hall) at the University of Southern Mississippi. Cook served as president (at no salary) until 1973, when operations were moved to” Jackson, Mississippi. “The Press’s first publication was Mississippi Black Folklore, a bibliography by William R. Ferris, a faculty member at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University).”

The Press started with two employees, the director and a secretary. Its first budget in The Report of the Presidents’ Council in the Board of Trustees minutes was $25,000. That first fiscal year it hoped to publish ten new books from its offices in the Student Union Building on the USM campus in Hattiesburg.

Today the Press employs nineteen full-time staff members. Its sales are annually above $2 million dollars. From its offices at the Education, Research, and Development Center on the fifth floor of the Paul B. Johnson Tower in Jackson, the press acquires, edits, designs, and markets over 200 author creations each year in traditional print, print-on-demand, and electronic book forms.

The press was from its beginning one of very few consortium presses. Then and now it is sustainably supported by and represents all of Mississippi’s eight public universities, being Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Mississippi University for Women, University of Mississippi, and University of Southern Mississippi.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Two UPM Titles Nominated for Eisner Awards

Nominations for the 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards have been announced and two UPM titles are being considered in the category of Best Educational/Academic Work. Our two nominees this year are Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan edited By Mark Mclelland, Kazumi Nagaike, Katsuhiko Suganuma, and James Welker and Superheroes On World Screens edited by Rayna Denison and Rachel Mizsei-Ward.

This marks the fifth straight year that UPM has had multiple nominees in the Best Academic/Scholarly Work category. 

Boys Love Manga and Beyond is a collection of essays that critically examine the "beautiful boy" love comics that enthralled fans in Japan and then worldwide. In recent decades, "Boys Love" (or simply BL) has emerged as a mainstream genre in manga, anime, and games for girls and young women.Today, a wide range of products produced both by professionals and amateurs are brought together under the general rubric of "Boys Love," and are rapidly gaining an audience throughoutAsia and globally.This collection provides the first comprehensive overview in English of the BL phenomenon in Japan, its history and various subgenres, and introduces translations of some key Japanese scholarship not otherwise available.

Superheroes on World Screens is a collection of essays that explore the many ways in which superheroes no longer belong solely to America. That is to say, many national cultures have created or re-imagined the idea of the superhero and the realm of superheroes now contains many icons whose histories borrow from local folklore and legends. Through analysis of mainly film, television, and computer screens, contributors demonstrate how far superheroes have traveled to inspire audiences worldwide.

UPM is pleased to be joined by three other university presses as nominees in the Best Academic/Scholarly Work category. The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art, edited by Frances Gateward and John Jennings (Rutgers University Press); Graphic Medicine Manifesto, by M. K. Czerwiec et al. (Penn State University Press); Unflattening, by Nick Sousanis (Harvard University Press). A full list of nominees can be seen here

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comics world. Named for acclaimed comics creator the Will Eisner, the awards are celebrating their 28th year of highlighting the best publications and creators in comics and graphic novels. The 2016 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of journalist/reviewer Brian Doherty, comics writer/editor Danny Fingeroth, retailer Jason Grazulis (BSI Comics, Metairie, LA), librarian Jason M. Poole (Webster Public Library, Webster, NY), Comic-Con International board member Natalie Powell, and academic/scholar Carol Tilley (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot is available at All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 17. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 22 at Comic-Con International.

More information about the Eisner Awards can be found at

Thursday, April 14, 2016

UPM Staff Pick: Things like the Truth

UPM Marketing Director Steve Yates chooses Ellen Gilchrist's new episodic memoir as his recommendation from our Spring Catalog. Below he explains why.

Things like the Truth: Out of My Later Years is all about connections, aging, family, hopes and dreams, and since it is by Ellen Gilchrist, all those themes burn like star fire.

My father was in love with Ellen Gilchrist’s radio voice and her moving vignettes broadcast on National Public Radio. When it came time for graduate school, I had two fellowship choices—Dad and Mom’s alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis, or the University of Arkansas. We all sat down at the kitchen table and after much intense talking, Dad said with finality, “I want you to study where someone like Ellen Gilchrist studied and where there’s a university press to publish her book of stories. You need to go where something amazing is happening.”
Steve Yates and Ellen Gilchrist
at Lemuria Books in Jackson

After I worked at University of Arkansas Press, the first publisher of In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, I have now at University Press of Mississippi been honored to work on three new Ellen Gilchrist books, and sell one, the novel Anabasis, on our backlist. Connections, aging, family, hopes and dreams. And always go to school where there is a university press.

Things like the Truth is now available from UPM. Meet Ellen and get a signed copy at the following times and locations:

Monday, May 16, 5 p.m. at Lemuria Books in Jackson

Tuesday, May 17, 6 - 7:30 p.m. at Garden District Books in New Orleans

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Seetha Srinivasan Reflects on her Career at UPM

Last spring, the StoryCorps mobile tour made a stop in Jackson. UPM took advantage of the opportunity and recorded a conversation between Editor in Chief Craig Gill and Director Emerita Seetha Srinivasan. 

Longtime colleagues, Craig interviews Seetha in a wide ranging conversation that covers how Sirinivasan got her start in publishing, her early days at UPM (including a promotion from student worker to acquisitions editor in just six months), significant changes in publishing, her influences and mentors, and the accomplishments that she's most proud of. 

Srinivasan retired in 2008 after a 29-year career at UPM, with 10 of those years as director of the Press.When Srinivasan came to UPM in 1979, the Press was only 10 years old and slowly beginning to distinguish itself nationally. Almost three decades later, Srinivasan’s editorial vision and leadership drove to the forefront of the university press publishing world. 

As an acquisitions editor Srinivasan elevated the Press to a level of international recognition. Included among the works she developed for publication are Photographs by Eudora Welty, three titles by noted historian Stephen Ambrose, a retrospective of the work of artist William Dunlap, and a a collection of nonfiction by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.

Srinivasan’s drive and dedication have allowed her to make contributions in the national publishing world as well. In 2002 Srinivasan was awarded the Association of American University Presses Constituency Award for Outstanding Service to the University Press Community. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the AAUP. And from 2003 Srinivasan served as president of the AAUP. During her term as president she traveled to Berlin to address the Congress of International Publishers Association on “The Future of the Academic Book.”

The audio of the interview is embedded below. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Confessions of an Undercover Agent

Confessions of an Undercover Agent: Adventures, Close Calls, and the Toll of a Double Life is the true story of Charlie Spillers’ career as undercover agent whose epic work spanned a decade of adventures and close calls. He dealt with a remarkable variety of career criminals, including heroin traffickers, safecrackers, burglars, auto thieves, and members of Mafia and Mexican drug smuggling operations.

This book is a gripping tale of the author’s fascinating experiences and the creative methods he used to succeed and survive in a challenging, difficult, and sometimes dangerous underworld life. Spillers is a natural and gifted storyteller and will put the reader into the very mindset of an undercover officer. The stories gathered here are dynamic, compelling, and at times hilarious.

As a young officer with the Baton Rouge Police department, ex-Marine Charlie Spillers went undercover to infiltrate criminal groups to gather intelligence. Working alone and often unarmed, he constantly attempted to walk the thin line between success and disaster. His closest companions became safecrackers, prostitutes, and burglars, and his efforts evolved into years of undercover work on drug trafficking rings. But the longer he worked the greater the risks became. His final and perhaps most significant work in Baton Rouge was leading a battle against corruption.

Spillers then joined the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and for the next five years continued working undercover, from the Gulf Coast to Memphis; and from New Orleans to Houston. Playing different roles and using multiple identities, he infiltrated drug trafficking groups, auto theft rings, and drug smuggling operations. He capped off a unique career by becoming a career federal prosecutor and the Justice Attaché for Iraq.

The author's taxi ID card in Gulfport in the undercover name Michael Warren.
When he first began working to infiltrate heroin trafficking on the Gulf Coast, Spillers
drove a taxi as a cover
Confessions of an Undercover Agent shares his most intriguing exploits and exciting undercover adventures, and puts readers in the middle of the action. Spillers also offers introspection into what living a double life of adventurous deception does to your own character.

Charlie Spillers will be signing and talking about his book at the following times and locations

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CHARLIE SPILLERS was an assistant US attorney for twenty-three years, which included volunteering and serving three tours in Iraq for the Department of Justice as the justice attaché for Iraq and as an attorney-advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi and currently serves as an instructor in continuing legal education courses.

Monday, March 28, 2016

UPM Is Looking For New Interns

University Press of Mississippi is accepting applications for intern workers to fill at least two positions this summer.

McRae Publishing Internship
The McRae Publishing Internship, generously supported by the Selby and Richard McRae Foundation, offers a singular educational opportunity to young men and women interested in book publishing to start their careers as interns and gain valuable practical knowledge about the publishing industry. 

The McRae Intern will assist with a variety of tasks, including proofreading manuscripts, aiding with peer review, organizing meetings at academic conferences, and checking permissions.

This position, geared towards an upperclassmen or recent graduates, requires a minimum of 25 hours per week with a preference for more hours if possible. The McRae Intern will be required to work onsite at our offices in Jackson during regular business hours, between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This position offers a monthly stipend, which will vary based on the amount of time worked.

For more information on the McRae Publishing Internship, please contact Editorial Associate Katie Keene at The application deadline for this position is April 10.

Editorial Internship
This is a great opportunity for English majors or anyone interested in book publishing. Interns for the editorial department will assist the staff with a variety of tasks including proofreading, preparing letters, and filing. Students should be available to work 8-15 hours per week between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This position is unpaid, but we are happy to work with the student so that s/he could receive course credit.

For more information on editorial internships, please contact Editorial Assistant Lisa McMurtray at

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Deeper Currents is a spirited exploration of the blessings manifest in all wild places

In Deeper Currents: The Sacraments of Hunting and Fishing author Donald C. Jackson (Tracks, Wilder Ways) guides us on a guided journey into the cathedrals of wild and lonely places, those sacred places where hunters and fishers connect with the rhythms of the earth, and the rhythms of life that resonate within us. Jackson explores hunting and fishing as frameworks—sacraments—for discovering, engaging, and finding meaning in those rhythms. He invites readers to consider your own connections with wilder realms of being.

Hunting squirrels on an autumn morning, listening to the quiet, watching the stillness, probing the woods, rifle in hand, the reader will appreciate Jackson’s attention to nature that is too often neglected. Following a bird dog into the damp and mysterious places where woodcock settle on their southbound migrations, chasing hounds on the trail of raccoons on a frosty winter night, hunting deer in a quiet corner of a small farm, fishing for carp in a creek, bass and bluegill in ponds, catfish in a murky river, and reef fish in the Gulf, help to remind us that we are stewards of treasured echoes from the past, echoes that define us as hunters and fishers. We must pass those treasures along to the generations that follow.

In Deeper Currents, tractors and old barns find a place in the reader's heart. Boats and canoes navigate realms of danger and dreams. Jackson shares outdoor pilgrimages with good friends in cabins, tents, camps, and old trailers tucked beyond the reach of a rushing world. He rejoices in the whisper of stiff wings as ducks come to decoys, the call of geese and cranes over tidal flats, the hush before a storm, the muffled snap of a twig at twilight, a drop of dew falling on the surface of a pond, and the clicking of caribou hooves on an Alaskan gravel bar.

Jackson finds these natural moments fill us with energy. They remind us that we are taking part in a sacred heritage and that creation is unfolding all around us.

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 24, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Jackson will sign Deeper Currents at The Book Mart and Cafe in Starkville.

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DONALD C. JACKSON is the Sharp Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Fisheries at Mississippi State University. He served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia, attended Lexington Theological Seminary, and was pastor of New Liberty Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. He is a past president of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation and the American Fisheries Society. An avid duck hunter and fisherman, he is the author of Tracks and Wilder Ways, both published by University Press of Mississippi.


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