A book edited at the University of Houston-Victoria came close to winning one of the most prestigious awards in publishing.
UHV-based independent, alternative press Fiction Collective Two published “The River Gods” by Brian Kiteley in August, shortly after FC2 moved to UHV in September of 2008.
The book was nominated for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the award.
“That means that at least one of the renowned judges on the National Book Award panel hand-picked it as a book to be considered for the award,” FC2 Managing Editor Carmen Edington said. “While the book didn’t win the award, this is still a great accomplishment for Brian and UHV’s new publishing program.”
Edington edited the collection as one of her first works at UHV.
With most New York-based publishing houses, the relationship between editor and author often is all business, Kiteley said.
“Small presses are obviously more intimate,” he said, adding he enjoyed working with Edington and the rest of the FC2 staff. He even pitched in and read a few manuscripts for the press.
“The experience with FC2 has been very good,” Kiteley said. “They are, I think, an important organization in American publishing right now. It’s a very disillusioning and disheartening time in publishing, and it’s very important that a press like FC2 exists and keeps books out in the world.”
Due to the weak economy, many publishing houses are printing fewer works and are less willing to take a risk on books that may be experimental, unique or original, he said.
Presses like FC2 keep literary gems available to the discriminating reading public, he said.
Awarded by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Award is presented annually to recognize great works in American literature published the prior year. It was first offered in 1960.
FC2 receives about four inquiries daily, and more than 325 manuscripts are considered each year. The press publishes two to three works in two annual release seasons that usually correspond to academic semesters.
For more information about FC2, visit www.fc2.org.