Hot Off the Press

This week I had Italian Soda with Dr. Suzzanne Kelley, PhD., Editor-in-Chief of the newly named NDSU Press. I was intrigued by our conversation:

  • A press that used to be called the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies
  • A press that has published approximately one book per year since 1950
  • A press I’d never even heard of. In my city.
  • And a PARTY! (Thursday, March 3, 2016, 7 p.m., Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center, 1241 University Drive, Fargo)

We emailed back and forth and Suzzanne talked about the upcoming party, how writers can submit to the press, what she is looking for, and her vision for the press. Some very exciting information! 

Suzzanne Kelley, NDSU Press,Prairie rose, NDSU Press Logo, In-Between Cultures, Jill Kandel, NDSU Press Party, Fargo, Fargo North Dakota

Could you give a brief history of NDSU Press?

On March 8, 1950, commissioners of the State Board of Higher Education authorized the establishment of the Institute for Regional Studies to be located at North Dakota State University. The purpose of the Institute was to study the history, natural resources, and culture of North Dakota and to publish studies growing out from that research. As a result, two entities emerged: a regional archives and a regional press.

Over time, the mission of the press grew to encompass North Dakota, the Red River Valley, the Great Plains and prairies, and even comparable continents. Our publication interests include works of all disciplines, scholarly and literary. Some of our best-selling publications include books of poetry.

For decades, the archives and the press collected materials and published under the name of North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies.

In 2011, the name of the materials repository changed to NDSU Archives, and as of January 1, 2016, our name changed to NDSU Press. We still operate under the auspices of the Institute for Regional Studies.

What is your job focus right now? Could you talk about the name change?

I was hired in July 2016 to elevate the status of the press and to increase our number of annual publications. Between 1950 and 2015, the press had published approximately sixty-five titles. So, while the press is the longest-continuously-publishing regional press on the plains, its actual production of books was quite limited. In working with the director of the press, Dr. Kent Sandstrom, and our editorial board, we determined to use the guidelines of the American Association of University Presses to set our benchmarks for improving our stature. Those guidelines include publishing at least five scholarly works annually.

To that end, we are publishing at least eight books this year that are of scholarly merit. It is a huge leap in production and marketing for the press, one that is aided by the name change to NDSU Press. Our new name is much easier to say, and it takes advantage of the branding already done by the university.

What is your vision for NDSU Press?

My vision is simple. Within five years, my goal is for NDSU Press to meet the standards of the American Association of University Presses and to become the press of choice for authors writing literary or scholarly works that increase our knowledge and understanding of our region.

NDSU Press Logo: The Prairie Rose

Prairie rose, NDSU Press Logo, In-Between Cultures, Jill Kandel, NDSU Press Party, Suzzanne Kelley,

What books are you publishing this year?

This year we have already published two travel narratives, a novel, and a science book about the geology of North Dakota. We’ll celebrate those books—as well as an anthology of poetry published last year—at our NDSU Press Party.

Later this spring and fall, we’ll release the following:

  • a chapbook of poetry by Larry Woiwode, called Land of Sunlit Ice;
  • a second edition of Father William C. Sherman’s Prairie Mosaic: An Ethnic Atlas of North Dakota, with additional photographs and a new introduction by Tom Isern;
  • the first volume in our Heritage Guide Series, The Bakken: An Archaeology of an Industrial Landscape, by William Caraher and Bret Weber;
  • a social and pictorial history with the working title of The Role of the Post Office in Rural North Dakota Communities, by Steven R. Bolduc, Amy Phillips, and Wayne Gudmundson;
  • and an anthology called History & Memory in Germans from Russia Country, featuring essays by Jessica Clark, Debra Marquart, and Steve Martens.

It’s quite a bit of work we have ahead of us!

What advice to you have on submitting to NDSU Press? What are you looking for? 

An editor will always advise potential authors to take a look at a press’s website and social media to see what kind of books and audience the press is working with, but also to mind the all-important mission statement. See if you work fits with the mission of the press, and then follow any submission guidelines precisely.

We use Submittable—an online submissions service that many literary authors will be familiar with. It is not so familiar to our scholarly authors, but they seem to be excited about the ease and function of the service, especially for uploading documents that might get lost in e-mail correspondence.

I seek a varied complement of titles, heavy on the scholarly side, but with a mix of literary fiction and nonfiction. For example, under serious consideration for 2017 we have a collection of poetry, a novel, a memoir, a memory/scholarly work, and two history monographs. I am hoping to build our confirmed acquisitions list as far as two year in advance.

Our submission guidelines can be found here on Submittables  and here at 

Tell me about the Press Party!

NDSU Press Postcard, Suzzanne Kelley, NDSU Press,Prairie rose, NDSU Press Logo, In-Between Cultures, Jill Kandel, NDSU Press Party, Fargo, Fargo North Dakota

I am thrilled about our upcoming event, the first-ever book launch and party that NDSU Press has offered.

The party is located in our spacious alumni center, with plenty of room for the eleven authors who will present, the musician who will sing, and the caterers who will serve. We’ll have a cash bar and heaps of free nibbles, as well as a cake with our three featured books pictured on the frosting.

Books will be for sale, and the authors will be available for autograph signing.

The party starts at 7:00 p.m., with the readings beginning promptly at 7:15 p.m. Please come early to find a great seat. We expect to have a hundred guests, with some known attendees coming from as far as Iowa and New Mexico to celebrate their friends’ new books.

The featured authors are Ryan Christiansen, Boy Wanted (novel); Jeremy Bold, Tyler Bold, Gwen Hoberg, Richard Hoberg, and Bruce Ringstrom, The Walk Across North Dakota; and John P. Bluemle, North Dakota’s Geologic Legacy. There will also be poets Larry Woiwode, Rick Watson, Denise Lajimodiere, Jamie Parsley, and Heidi Czerwiec, who is also the editor, reading from our award-winning anthology, North Dakota Is Everywhere.

Thursday, March 3, 2016, 7 p.m., Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center, 1241 University Drive, Fargo.

Anything you’d like to add that you want “Fargo” to know about?

Look for our books at Zandbroz and Barnes & Noble, or come straight to our office in Minard on the NDSU campus. Despite our longevity, we seem to have kept our light hidden under a basket! We are looking for the best manuscripts to publish and we have great plans to make our mark as the press of choice on the plains.

Attend our party, bring friends, and learn about our contribution to the literary and scholarly corpus of works from our region. “Like” us on Facebook.

Here’s a look at the books being launched at the NDSU  Press Party 

North Dakota’s Geologic Legacy: Our Land and How It Formed by John Bluemle

ND's Geological Legacy, In-between Cultures, North Dakota, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas

The Walk Across North Dakota, edited by Gwendolyn Hoberg

A Walk Across ND, In-Between Cultures, Fargo, North Dakota, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas, memoir

Boy Wanted, by Ryan Christiansen

Boy Wanted, In-Between Cultures, North Dakota, Fargo, NDSU, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas

Can’t wait to see what lovely books NDSU has put out, and will be putting out in the coming years. Congratulations John Blumle, Gwendolyn Hoberg, Ryan Christiansen, Dr. Suzzanne Kelley and  NDSU Press.

It’s Party Time! 

Jill Kandel
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