Spotlight on Evanston: Agate Publishing

Agate.jpgWhen moving to any new city, you try to get the lay of the land early on.  Where’s the closest grocery?  The local bookstore?  The library branch (or three!).  And since I moved here from NYC I wanted to immediately know precisely which publishers were local.  Because my previous focus was children’s book publishing, I identified outposts of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and National Geographic fairly early on, alongside the small independent publisher Albert Whitman & Co and (naturally) Chicago Review Press.  Adult publishers?  Previously not my bag, baby.  But people change.  People grow.  And after purchasing the adult books for the EPL system I’ve grown curious about where to find folks.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I found a publisher of books right smack dab here in Evanston.  And not just any publisher either.  A bee-autiful publisher!  One that makes books so gorgeous and appealing you’d be crazy not to check ’em out.

Introducing Agate Publishing.

Originally Agate was founded in 2002, when Doug Seibold decided to create a company that would speak specifically to business books and titles of interest to African-Americans.  In fact, there’s a lovely Chicago Reader piece on Mr. Seibold and his dream found here.  In time (and due to his success) the company was able to expand.  Now they publish cookbooks, Chicago-centric titles, a large swath of ebooks, and in February 2017 they’ll be debuting a children’s book imprint.

These days they’re churning out some pretty darn attractive books.  Curious about what they look like?  Happily, Evanston Public Library owns quite a few books from Agate.  If you’re interested in checking them out then we would recommend . . . .

Jewish

As Publishers Weekly said of it, “You can say one thing for this collection of modern kosher recipes-it ain’t chopped liver. That fatty, flavorful favorite is replaced with fancy-schmancy fare like Artichoke Confit and Fava Bean Salad. Frankel, owner of Shallots restaurant in Chicago, deserves credit for widening the horizons of kosher cooking, as she incorporates novelties such as venison (Ginger-Marinated Venison Loin with Purple Sticky Rice and Spring Pea Salad) and bison (Bison, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches) . . . Even without a strong hook, though, bubbe would approve, and the two million kosher households in the U.S., as the publisher figures, will likely be grateful for these new recipes.”

Job Search

Both practical, insightful “real world” perspectives with the technical knowledge job seekers need in order to excel at every aspect of the job search are included in this book.  A book for transition.

Grandbaby

Prepare to drool.  50 cakes of all kinds are included in this book, including different versions of Southern classics like pineapple upside-down hummingbird pound cake and `nana pudding tiramisu cake. Family memories and photographs accompany the recipes, which are ranked from easy (“Grandbaby Cakes”) to hard (“Big Mama Cakes”).  Library Journal called this one an “instant classic”.

Behind

As the description from the publisher puts it, “In 1992, Carol Moseley Braun became the first, and to this day only, African-American woman elected to the US Senate. Long before this historic victory, which Barack Obama would later say prefigured his own path to the Senate and presidency, veteran Chicago journalist Jeannie Morris saw an incredible opportunity. Here was a bold and politically courageous candidate, a feminist and sensible progressive with whom Morris quickly identified on a personal level. Morris joined the campaign to write the official story of a brilliant retail politician with a charismatic smile. Morris brings the social and political impact of Moseley Braun’s story — from her meteoric rise to her eventual downfall — into clear focus.”

By the way, if you happen to know someone who would like to be a publishing intern, Agate Publishing does have an internship program.

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