NORTHPORT—A new small press has launched in Maine called Toad Hall Editions and its purpose is to give a platform to writers who don’t get noticed in the more traditional publishing arenas.
Founded by Amy Tingle, Liz Kalloch and Maya Stein, the trio all have skills in the publishing and design industries. The idea for the small press came out of years of collaboration on their own various projects. Their collective work on Stein’s latest book, The Poser: 38 Portraits Reimagined by Maya Stein, features imagery and interviews with a selection of contemporary artists from around the world whose portraits Maya reenacted during the lockdown last year.
One day, they were all sitting at the dining room table of Tingle’s and Stein’s house when the idea of starting a traditional press came up.
“I have to blame our dining room table; we call it ‘The World Domination Table,” joked Stein. “It inspires visions of grandeur just sitting there.”
It was a match that seemed destined. Kalloch, an artist, and graphic designer, helped design several of Tingle’s and Stein’s self-published books in the past.
Tingle, also an artist and copy editor, and Stein, a poet and writing facilitator, all had the requisite skills and backgrounds working for publishers to start something of their own—to not only publish their own work, but also to extend it to “... the work of women and gender diverse writers and artists—progressive, LGBTQIA+, minority, or otherwise still-too-often unheard voices.”
For potential authors, the trio is looking primarily for women and gender-diverse people whose “work lives in the liminal spaces.”
“It feels like a way we might be able to correct the canon,” said Tingle. “As three women who have worked in the publishing industry and having seen people who have important stories to tell get pushed to the sidelines, we would love to get as many diverse voices as we can.”
“I think the big thing for me, having worked in-house for several publishing houses in the Bay Area of San Francisco was repeatedly seeing work come in from women get turned down,” said Kalloch. “We want to create a space for writers whose works would perhaps not be accepted by a larger more traditional publisher.”
The initial goal is to publish one to three books a year, but that’s not all that Toad Hall Editions is involved in. They are launching two new literary magazines: one for adults called messing about in boats, a biannual compendium, and Buttered Toast, an annual journal for young writers.
For writers looking to go the self-publishing route, Toad Hall Editions also offers book publishing services such as writing coaching and development, manuscript editing, proofreading, and book design.
As for their company name, it came built-in with the house.
“Toad Hall is the name of our house in Northport,” said Tingle. “The former owner of our house had children who were fans of the children’s book, Wind in the Willows, so they named the house Toad Hall. It was so literary, so why not name the press after it—it seemed perfect.”
To learn more about the small press, their literary magazines and publishing services visit: Toad Hall Editions
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org