Small Press Points: Torrey House Press

From the September/October 2016 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Throughout the country, from Native Americans to the newest immigrants, there is a piece of the national psyche that is tied to the images and history of the West,” says Kirsten Johanna Allen, publisher of the Salt Lake City–based Torrey House Press. The nonprofit publisher is tapping into that phenomenon by releasing six to eight fiction and nonfiction titles each year that focus on the American West, specifically as it relates to human relationships and the natural world. Allen says she and Mark Bailey established the press in October 2010 because of “a growing concern about ecological mismanagement of the priceless mountains, lakes, streams, sagebrush steppes, and red-rock deserts of America’s public lands,” and the sense that contemporary literature rarely features the cultures and stories of the western United States. Upcoming Torrey House titles include Inhabited (October), a novel by Charlie Quimby about “the colliding interests of real estate developers, homeless advocates, homeless people, and environmentalists in a western town coming of age”; The Luckiest Scar on Earth (February 2017), a young adult novel by Ana Maria Spagna about a teenage snowboarder exploring the backcountry of Washington’s Cascade Mountains; and Mary Sojourner’s The Talker (March 2017), a collection of short stories set in the Mojave Desert. The press is open to nonfiction queries and full-manuscript submissions of novels, memoirs, and story or essay collections from August 15 to October 15. “I would love to see more fiction with deeply, richly drawn characters who illustrate cultures relating to landscape, public lands management issues, and the transformative power of wild places,” says Allen. “I would also love to see more lively, can’t-turn-the-page-too-fast nonfiction that tells the story of important historical or contemporary people dealing with conservation questions.”