Reading is already a deeply interior experience. When the material being read sends one even further toward the grounds of being, by virtue of its music and form and evocations, it can be a transformative experience,” says Luke Hankins, founder and editor of Orison Books, a nonprofit publisher that brings an inclusive ethos to books illuminating “the life of the spirit.”
Founded in 2014 and based in Asheville, North Carolina, Orison Books fills a need Hankins sees in a literary landscape “that has more often than not shied away from anything with religious or spiritual affiliations.” He adds, “I hope Orison Books might help bridge the divide between ‘literary’ and ‘spiritual.’” The press publishes about eight poetry, fiction, and nonfiction titles a year, plus an annual anthology. All are steered by a sense of wonder, contemplation, and a curiosity about commonalities across traditions. “It’s not always the surface-level subject matter that determines the spiritual experience,” says Hankins. “I think, for instance, of a poetry collection we published early on—Jordan Rice’s Constellarium, which chronicles the author’s gender affirmation. These poems sometimes reference religion, but it’s the profound engagement with the nature of the self that creates the spiritual experience for the reader.” In August, Orison Books releases Carol Dines’s story collection This Distance We Call Love, which contends with “connection and disconnection in our most intimate relationships.” Other forthcoming titles include poetry collections by Mary B. Moore and Eric Pankey. The press accepts general fiction and nonfiction submissions, as well as anthology proposals, during the month of October and does not charge a fee.