From its inception, Northwestern University Press has been at the forefront in publishing important works of scholarship as well as quality works of fiction, nonfiction, and literary criticism. Prestigious authors first published by Northwestern University Press have been the recipients of numerous prizes, including the Nobel Prize for Literature and the National Book Award.
Founded in 1893, the early years of the Press were dedicated to the publication of legal periodicals and scholarly books dealing with the law. In 1957 the Press was established as a separate university publishing company and began expanding its offerings with new series in various fields, including African studies, phenomenology and existential philosophy, literature, and literary criticism.
In the late 1960s, the press published Viola Spolin's landmark volume, Improvisation for the Theater: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques. This "bible" of improvisational theater has sold more than one hundred thousand copies since its publication in 1963 and, with several other Spolin titles, forms the foundation of a large body of theater and performance studies books the Press publishes. The Press continues its commitment to theater and performance studies, publishing prominent playwrights such as Mary Zimmerman and Tracy Letts, both Tony Award winners, as well as upcoming and emerging playwrights.
The 1960s also saw the beginnings of the Northwestern University Press-Newberry Library alliance in publishing the definitive edition of the writings of Herman Melville in conjunction with the Modern Language Association.
The Press has won major translation awards for Fyodor Dostoevsky's Writer's Diary: Volume I, 1873-1876,
translated by Kenneth Lantz;
Ignacy Krasicki's Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom,
translated by Thomas H. Hoisington; and Petra Hulova's All This Belongs to Me: A Novel,
translated by Alex Zucker. In 1997 the Press won a National Book Award for Poetry for William Meredith's Effort at Speech.
The Press is proud to have published two novels by the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, Hungarian author Imre Kertesz, Fateless
, translated by Christopher C. Wilson and Katharina M. Wilson.
In 1992 the Press joined forces with TriQuarterly magazine—Northwestern University's innovative literary journal aimed at a sophisticated and diverse readership—to establish the TriQuarterly Books imprint, which is devoted primarily to contemporary American fiction and poetry.
Several of the Press's titles, including Fording the Stream of Consciousness, Still Waters in Niger, and The Book of Hrabal, have been named Notable Books by the New York Times Book Review. Florida, a novel by Christine Schutt, was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2004.
Today, the Press publishes in a wide variety of disciplines and has made one of its publishing strategies the alignment of the Press with Northwestern University’s strengths and priorities. In 2005, the Press published the first book in its Medill School of Journalism series Visions of the American Press. The series will publish about 40 books in total, with four coming out each year. In addition, the Press has published several titles in conjunction with the Kellogg School of Management.
Northwestern University Press is committed to the widest dissemination of scholarship as possible, and as such, continues to look at new media and other alternatives to the traditional book as it strives to promote the finest works of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. The Press is known for publishing important works in continental philosophy, Slavic studies, literary criticism, European and world classics. Its Writings from an Unbound Europe series focuses on prose and poetry from the lesser known European languages. Its Chicago regional books have been well received by Chicago and national audiences. Included among those are A Theater of Our Own by Richard Christiansen, Bridges of Memory by Timuel L. Black, and a series of memoirs and biographies of important Chicagoans called Chicago lives.
For information about the numerous awards we have won, please click here.