cinotto“There’s a reason that this genre film never worked. It must be ethnic to the core—you must smell the spaghetti. That’s what brought the magic to the novel—it was written by an Italian.”

With those words former studio head Robert Evans explained how director Francis Ford Coppola came to helm The Godfather. Spaghetti, as Evans foresaw, played an important role in the film, as the scene where Clemenza makes sauce remains a classic. It’s also such an essential part of American dining that our nation celebrates National Spaghetti Day, a fact that allows us to forget that January is National Oatmeal Month.

If you want to smell the spaghetti some more, open up Simone Cinotto‘s release The Italian American Table, a popular UIP dish (“It’s the best in the city”) that follows the winding yet delicious strand of angel hair that linked food and family. Cinotto does nothing less than recreate the bustling world of Italian life in New York City. Along the way he demonstrates how food was at the center of the lives of immigrants and their children, shows how these people created a food culture most of us cannot live without, and ponders the parts played by food production, preparation, and consumption in immigrant communities.

menneLet’s be honest. You’re probably ready to boil you up a pot of pasta right now or maybe order some via takeout. Good idea!

Once you finish Cinotto’s book, why not add to your experience by holding a film festival informed by two more of our books? Jeff Menne‘s Francis Ford Coppola, explores how Sofia’s dad attempted a new way of filmmaking, while Hollywood’s Italian American Filmmakers gives film scholar Jonathan J. Cavallero room to examine how Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarentino, and other filmic pezzonovantes related to their ethnicity in their works.

UIP 100The University of Illinois Press turns 100 in 2018! Our entire staff is involved with planning multiple, varied events to celebrate our centennial. These will include panel discussions, workshops, exhibits, and other public events on campuses in Champaign-Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield, as well as events springing from community partnerships. We are excited to raise the profile of the Press and the University through these diverse forms of outreach.

Amid all this excitement, though, our primary form of outreach remains constant: publishing exceptional scholarly and regional interest books and journals. This season’s offerings reflect the Press’s ongoing commitment to scholarship on social justice issues and the foregrounding of minority voices. Among others, you’ll find moving studies of black WACs standing up to the military, Asian Americans fighting for civil rights, and Mexican immigrants making their mark in Chicago. We also present new titles in signature fields, including powerful works on women in the early film industry, the long history of the American spiritual, and James Baldwin as a commentator on the 1980s.

The year 2018 also marks the bicentennial of the State of Illinois, and this catalog
offers an array of enticing Illinois and regional titles. These include a major new
biography of Chicago mayor Harold Washington, studies of the formative years of the
Illinois constitution and the Big Ten, oral histories of women digital arts pioneers, an
Illinois history reader from Common Threads, and the opening volume of three on the
history of the Ozarks.

centennial_ipad_smCome celebrate with us! You can start by registering for a chance to win a free iPad
loaded with 100 UIP e-books.

-Laurie Matheson, Director


Stay up to date with our centennial activities throughout the year here.


Christmas in IllinoisWith hopes for peaceful holiday celebrations everywhere, here is “What I Want for Christmas,” by Robert Green Ingersoll, from Christmas in Illinois, along with the introduction by editor James Ballowe:

“Adults have also used the holiday to make known to others their desires for the future. Robert Green Ingersoll, the son of a Presbyterian abolitionist minister, taught in Mount Vernon and Metropolis and practiced law in Shawneetown and Peoria. He was a colonel in the Union army and after the war became Illinois attorney general before becoming prominent on the national stage. In his ‘Christmas Sermon,’ written in 1892, he said, ‘I believe in Christmas and in every day that has been set aside for joy.’ The following requests for Christmas, written in 1897, express his humanism.

If I had the power to produce exactly what I want for next Christmas, I would have all the kings and emperors resign and allow the people to govern themselves.

I would have all the nobility crop their titles and give their lands back to the people. I would have the pope throw away his tiara, take off his sacred vestments, and admit that he is not acting for God—is not infallible—but is just an ordinary Italian. I would have all the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, and clergymen admit that they know nothing about theology, nothing about hell or heaven, nothing about the destiny of the human race, nothing about devils or ghosts, gods or angels. I would have them tell all their “flocks” to think for themselves, to be manly men and womanly women, and to do all in their power to increase the sum of human happiness.

I would have all the professors in colleges, all the teachers in schools of every kind, including those in Sunday schools, agree that they would teach only what they know, that they would not palm off guesses as demonstrated truths.

I would like to see all the politicians changed to statesmen—to men who long to make their country great and free; to men who care more for public good than private gain—men who long to be of use.

I would like to see all the editors of papers and magazines agree to print the truth and nothing but the truth, to avoid all slander and misrepresentation, and to let the private affairs of the people alone.

I would like to see drunkenness and prohibition both abolished.

I would like to see corporal punishment done away with in every home, in every school, in every asylum, reformatory, and prison. Cruelty hardens and degrades; kindness reforms and ennobles.

I would like to see the millionaires unite and form a trust for the public good.

I would like to see a fair division of profits between capital and labor, so that the toiler could save enough to mingle a little June with the December of his life.

I would like to see an international court established in which to settle disputes between nations, so that armies could be disbanded and the great navies allowed to rust and rot in perfect peace.

I would like to see the whole world free—free from injustice—free from superstition.

This will do for next Christmas. The following Christmas, I may want more.”



The University of Illinois Press will be closed for the holidays 12/23/2017-1/1/2018. We will resume normal business hours on 1/2/2018.

You can still visit our website at

Happy Holidays!

santa martianI am fortunately immune to nostalgia about past celebrations of the yule, with one exception: the Christmas tree. Not a tree in the abstract, but the Christmas tree I grew up with, a monstrosity of fakery laden with all the menace American manufacturing could muster in the era before the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

What an ugly, mismatched object. But it was of our family, every bit of it, indeed represented us, for better and for worse, from our mother’s (perhaps too-) fierce love for her young to the unnecessary risk-taking that frequently complicated our lives.

As my parents had only one Christmas together without kids, the tree went into service right away—both as a beacon of hope for gift-greedy children and as a threat to their well-being. The trunk was a green wooden cylinder, about the width of those cheap wooden closet rods we all have in our closet at one time or another.

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UIP 100In 2018, the University of Illinois Press will celebrate its 100th anniversary with numerous events across Illinois. A founding member (1937) of the Association of American University Presses, University of Illinois Press has published over 4,500 books in its first century. The Press has established itself as a leading publisher in American history and culture, with pioneering lists in African American studies; women, gender, and sexuality studies; women’s history; film and media; music history; labor history; American ethnic studies; disability history; sports history; and foodways.

The Press currently publishes 38 journals and more than 90 books per year with worldwide distribution. Its programs demonstrate a deep commitment to supporting diverse and marginalized voices and topics in the academy. The Press also serves a regional readership by providing engaging books on Illinois and the Midwest.

“Initially serving the University of Illinois as a printer and publisher of faculty work, the Press has become the publisher of choice in a number of key fields,” notes Press director Laurie Matheson. “Our second century offers new opportunities to cultivate and disseminate the kind of deeply informed, critically historicized scholarship that our troubled times require. This commitment to rigorous, informative, accessible work underpins all of our publications as well as our partnerships and outreach activities.”

Highlights from the first 100 years include:

  • Acquired the paperback rights in 1978 to Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, and sold 356,000 over the next ten years before a commercial publisher reclaimed the rights.
  • Published multi-volume sets of the papers of several notable historical figures including Jane Addams, Booker T. Washington, and Margaret Sanger.
  • Published the landmark books Mathematical Theory of Communication by Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver and Four Theories of the Press by Fred S. Sieber, Theodore Peterson, and Wilbur Schramm.

Throughout the 2018 calendar year, the University of Illinois Press will host and participate in a variety of events affiliated with the three University of Illinois campuses, including:

  • Little Free Library—Launched in October 2017, the UIP-sponsored Little Free Library at the Illini Union will be stocked regularly with UIP books and Journals.
  • University of Illinois Library Exhibit—During February 2018, UIP will have a public history display in the north-south corridor at the UIUC Main Library that features highlights from the Press’s first 100 years. The exhibit will move tothe Spurlock Museum in the summer and the Daley Library at UIC in the fall.
  • 100 ebooks iPad Giveaway—UIP will sponsor an online giveaway contest for three iPads preloaded with 100 UIP books.
  • Director’s Panel—On February 14, 2018, current director Laurie Matheson will participate in a panel discussion with previous directors Willis Regier and Richard Wentworth about UIP’s commitment to supporting scholarship on social justice. Dean James D. Anderson will serve as the moderator.
  • The Chicago Food Encyclopedia Event—In March 2018, an event celebrating The Chicago Food Encyclopedia and diversity through food will be hosted at the UIC Richard Daley Library.
  • 100 Years of Publishing Lincoln—During the 2018 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield, UIP will have a panel at the Abraham Lincoln Library.

“We are very excited at the roster of events we’re developing with our partners on the three campuses of the U of I, as well as with community contacts,” Matheson says. “We hope many will join us in these informative and celebratory events over the course of our centennial year!”

About the University of Illinois Press:

The University of Illinois Press publishes timely and transformative scholarship in the humanities that empowers local and global readers to understand and engage with the changing world. Founded in 1937, the Press publishes 90 books annually as well as 38 journals, with particular strengths in in African American studies; women, gender, and sexuality studies; women’s history; film and media; music history; labor history; American ethnic studies; disability history; sports history; and foodways.

For more information contact:
Heather Gernenz, Publicity Manager
University of Illinois Press
1325 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL  61820

A vestigial organ of our personal identities, the middle initial causes particular problems in publishing. Every author must ask: do I use it? Or do I go casual, i.e., publish a book under the name I call myself in every other facet of life?

To publish books is to sit patiently while an author works out the answer.

Going casual implies a comfort with the process and expresses a certain cool; then your mother calls, she went through 18 hours of labor and gave you a middle name after her beloved grandfather Americus, and you’re too good for that A., my fancy-pants scholar? Suddenly, the author is sending email to the project manager. My name is Kim A. Smith now. Change the book cover. Please. My inheritance is at stake.

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Every December since 2007 we have posted an annual list of our pop culture favorites. The University of Illinois Press Best of 2017 edition is in alphabetical order by staff member’s last name.


Angela Burton, Rights & Permissions/Awards Manager
Favorite Book: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
Favorite music: Not Dark Yet by Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer
Favorite Film: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman – Official Trailer from 2WEI Music on Vimeo.
Favorite TV Show: All In with Chris Hayes; Future Man
Favorite live performance: Jason Moran and the Big Bandwagon, In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, Krannert Center, Nov. 14, 2017
Website I visit almost every day:; New York Times
Favorite Podcast: Revisionist History

Marika Christofides, Associate Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Book: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin – part of her Broken Earth trilogy
Favorite music: Everyone Else by Slothrust
Favorite Film: Dolores, a documentary about Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association
Favorite TV Show: The Good Place, Lady Dynamite, Insecure, probably more that I can’t remember!

Insecure Official Season 2 Trailer from Jamaz Hall on Vimeo.
Website I visit every day: I am a late adopter of Pinterest
Favorite Podcast: Drawing a Dialogue, a podcast discussing comics in historical + educational contexts

Kevin Cunningham, Copywriter and Catalog Coordinator

Favorite Book: Andrew DeGraff – Plotted: A Literary Atlas
Favorite music: Miles Davis – Jack Johnson

Favorite Film: Twin Peaks: The Return
Favorite TV Show: (tie) The Americans and Blackhawks hockey
Website I visit every day: Gizmodo
Favorite board game: Survive! Escape from Atlantis
Favorite rediscovered candy: Brach’s Royals

Dawn Durante, Senior Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Book: Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes (Europa Editions, 2017)
Favorite Film: Wonder Woman
Favorite TV Shows: The Walking Dead, The Good Place

Favorite live performance: Madeleine Peyroux, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, September 23, 2017
Website I visit every day: Black Perspectives, published by the African American Intellectual History Society
Favorite Podcast: Bronzeville

Heather Gernenz, Publicity Manager

Favorite Short Story Collection: Carmen Maria Machado-Her Body and Other Parties
Favorite Nonfiction book: Yuval Noah Harari-Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Favorite Novel: Min Jin Lee-Pachinko
Favorite Album: Angus and Julia Stone-Snow

Favorite Film: Lady Bird
Favorite TV Show: The Handmaid’s Tale
Favorite live performance: The Pretty Reckless May 9, 2017 Live in Peoria, IL
Favorite Podcast: Invisibilia

Julie Laut, Outreach & Development Coordinator
Favorite Book:
Memoir/Essays – Hunger: A Memoir by Roxane Gay; Literature – Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Favorite Films: Horror – Get Out; Comedy – The Big Sick; Guilty Pleasure – Wonder Woman
Favorite TV Shows: Drama – Alias Grace; BBC detectives – Broadchurch series 3

Favorite live performance: Stephen Wade performing “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” Saturday, December 2, 2017, at AMP
Favorite Podcast: “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” (Favorite podcast episode this year: Mini-Season Ep 5: To Michael)

Michael Roux, Marketing and Sales Manager

Favorite LP:  Wolf People – Ruins, Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

Favorite Film:  Lion
Favorite TV Shows:  All In with Chris Hayes
Favorite live performance:  Tom Petty, Champaign, IL – May 10, 2017
Website I visit every day:
Favorite Podcasts: The Weeds; Take Ten

Alison Syring, Assistant Acquisitions Editor

Favorite Fiction Book: Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex. Finally read it and LOVED it. Then read his other books in quick succession. This is still my favorite.
Favorite music: Andra Day – Cheers to the Fall

Favorite Film: The Handmaiden
Favorite TV Show: Insecure and The Deuce on HBO, and Stranger Things on Netflix
Favorite live performance: Daniel Tosh at the State Farm Center
Website I visit every day: – Still my favorite news source, even after leaving the DC area!
Favorite Podcast: Lore, Uncivil, and an embarrassing number of true crime podcasts. My favorite this year was Undisclosed’s coverage of Freddie Gray’s shooting in Baltimore.

weston ILIt came from the future: Tevatron. The villain in the new Michael Bay feature? Actually, the world’s largest particle accelerator once it opened in 1983. But to get there, the giant underground atom racer/smasher needed a town to get out of the way and let in the National Accelerator Laboratory, later called Fermilab.

And all because Weston, Illinois, got what it wanted.

On December 16, 1966, the Atomic Energy Committee chose tiny Weston, Illinois as the site of its new National Accelerator Laboratory. The citizens of Weston rejoiced. A farming town of about 450 people, Weston had come into being in 1963. Developers had big plans for the town from the beginning: a huge housing complex and mall that would grow a new 50,000-person city in the middle of DuPage County. The county had, in fact, shut down that idea due to concerns over funding, overcrowding of schools, and infrastructure.

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avilezWe are pleased to announce that Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism by GerShun Avilez has won the William Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association (MLA). The prize is given to an outstanding scholarly study of African American literature or culture. The committee said:

“The stunning achievement of GerShun Avilez’s Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism is its compelling expansion and queering of black nationalism through engagement with rhetorics that insist on formal innovation and experimentation as a method of translating the political anxieties, questions, and contradictions of the nationalism of the Black Arts era.”


IrizarryS16_144We are also pleased to announce that Chicana/o and Latina/o Fiction: The New Memory of Latinidad by Ylce Irizarry has won the MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies. The committee said:

“Ylce Irizarry’s Chicana/o and Latina/o Fiction: The New Memory of Latinidad is a landmark study, offering a comparative analysis of Chicana/o, Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican fiction, read as distinct cultural narratives produced over a wide geopolitical terrain yet brought to convergence in what Irizarry calls collaborative architectures of meaning.”


BoyleS15_144Additionally, Kay Boyle: A Twentieth-Century Life in Letters, edited and with an introduction by Sandra Spanier, has won an honorable mention for the Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters from the Modern Language Association (MLA). The prize will be awarded at the MLA’s annual conference January 4-7, 2018, in New York City. The committee said:

“With Kay Boyle: A Twentieth-Century Life in Letters, Sandra Spanier has assembled a thoughtful selection that is representative of the life and literary phases of this leading figure among the Lost Generation modernists. Kay Boyle was at the center of literary and social developments in the twentieth century, traveling to France as a bride, living as an ex-pat and witnessing the spread of fascism, working as a foreign correspondent in Europe and then becoming a target of McCarthyism, and finally participating in American literary circles and the anti–Vietnam War movement. Enhancing the well-written and entertaining letters with an introduction, a chronology, numerous photographs, biographies of the correspondents, and a detailed index, Spanier has helped Boyle achieve the goal of writing a “record of our age” and has created a collection that is itself a work of literature.”


Congratulations to Ylce Irizarry, GerShun Avilez, and Sandra Spanier!