Happy Hour and Beginnings
At Book Expo America, which is so clearly dominated by the big New York publishers and where the show floor can seem half-filled by the featured national pavilion, it’s easy to see the value of lifting the voices of the rest of us —publishers outside of the corporate juggernaut.
At the PubWest reception in 2014, at a now-closed bar called “1200 Miles” on 23rd Street in New York, Fred Ramey and Derek Lawrence fell into the kind of conversation they always have — rangy, ambitious, and hopeful for the good work of publishing in the West.
The names of Tom and Marilyn Auer rose again in the conversation as a kind of inspiration. That’s because the Auers’ work at The Bloomsbury Review has for so long placed the literature of the West into the context of literature across the country. They are an inspiration to everyone in the book community of the West.
That night at “1200 Miles”, Lawrence and Ramey conceived of a literary events center based in Denver dedicated to promoting the efforts of book publishers in the Deep West. And they passed around a card asking the folks at the reception to witness the evening with their initials. Brainstorming such a regional center for publishing professionals continued through the evening with Kent Watson of PubWest and others in attendance.
And the conversation continued. Joined by Caleb J. Seeling a short time later, and with early support from local agencies and others in the book community, the concept became Colophon Center.