Press director to retire
Nancy Essig's 12-year tenure, the state's only university press
has roughly doubled the number of books it publishes annually
and been acclaimed for the breadth and strength of its offerings.
Several of its scholarly book series are known worldwide as the
best in their field and many of its 50 to 60 new titles a year
are widely reviewed.
director of the University
Press and a longtime leader in scholarly publishing, has announced
that she will retire at the end of April.
been a difficult decision to make," she said. "I love publishing
books, but I have been doing it all my adult life and I want to
try some other things, too. Virginia has been a special place
to publish books, with a caring staff, a collegial faculty and
a supportive administration."
retirement plans include learning more about Southern history
and writing a book about the family of Virginia writer Ellen Glasgow.
the publishing areas that the Virginia press has become known
for in recent years are African- American history and literature,
a strength that Essig takes special satisfaction in. Other outstanding
areas include Caribbean and African literature translated from
French, Victorian literature and culture, and new series on the
American South and on Jefferson's America. U.Va. faculty serve
as editors of all these series.
Established in 1963 and charged with advancing scholarly publishing
throughout Virginia, the press also has a long record of publishing
books that explore the historical, cultural and natural resources
of the state and the region. Essig is its third director.
has helped guide the Virginia Press into growing prominence during
a time of rapid change in the publishing industry. At a time when
sales of scholarly monographs have fallen nationally because of
library budget cuts, she has sought to fulfill the press's main
scholarship mission and also to acquire books by scholars writing
for a wider audience and has produced many strong sellers. The
press is also publishing books in partnerships with other groups
such as Colonial Williamsburg, The Mariners Museum, and historical
societies to help defray costs of publication and reach new markets.
who was previously assistant director at the Johns Hopkins University
Press, publicity director at Columbia University Press and in
trade publishing, has served on the board of directors of the
Association of American University Presses and was founding editor
of its newsletter, "The Exchange." She has also been president
of Women in Scholarly Publishing and of the Washington/Baltimore
chapter of the Women's National Book Association. She has taught
publishing courses at Howard University, George Washington University,
and in the Summer Publishing Institute of the University of Denver.
A committee to conduct a national search for her successor is
expected to be appointed shortly.