Corrections or additions?
This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the October 22, 2003
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Princeton Red Hummingbird Takes Wing
I‘ve been a writer most of my life," says Hanna
Fox, co-founder of Princeton’s newest independent publishing house,
Red Hummingbird Press. Fox, who has taught creative writing in the
area for more than 20 years and continues to teach fiction writing
techniques at the Princeton Adult School, says her interest in
an independent press goes back decades.
"I saw so many wonderful manuscripts during my years of teaching
creative writing, my feeling was that here were some wonderful
that just didn’t make it into the marketplace," says Fox, who
retired from her job with the state last year at age 65. "Then
the right people emerged in my life, and the dream has become a
Red Hummingbird Press hosts a book party to celebrate Fox’s dream
and the publication of its first book, "Candle in a Dark Time"
by Virginia Stuart at the Arts Council of Princeton on Sunday, October
26, from 4 to 6 p.m. Joining Hanna Fox, Red Hummingbird publisher
and editor-in-chief, is writer Robin Cunningham who will be
for administration and finance, and Fox’s son David Fox, in charge
of communications and the company website.
"Our mission is to publish authors whose works make a social
but may fall outside the mainstream market," says Fox. "We’d
like our books to reflect the complexities, contradictions, and
of the human condition. We think we’ve made the right start with
When operating at full capacity, Fox says Red Hummingbird Press plans
to publish three books a year. Its books will include works of
memoir, biography, autobiography, non-fiction, and poetry. She
the press as a bootstrapping effort supported by an "extremely
limited budget," with capital investment by all three principals,
some loans, "and a lot of sweat equity."
Hanna Fox was hired as a writer by the State of New Jersey in the
mid-1980s and worked in a variety of posts over a period of 17 years,
including the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth and
Family Services, initially in the office of community education, and
then, for nine years, as program director of the Children’s Trust
Fund to prevent child abuse. For the two years before retirement she
was in the Office of Information Technology, working as a manager
of communications and creative services, responsible for the state’s
David Fox was raised in Princeton, went to Johns Hopkins, and earned
a master’s in public health at Columbia, where he is now two months
short of completing his PhD. Taking advantage of today’s ease of
he plans to continue to work professionally in public health and for
the press in the tri-state area.
Fox has a particular mission for Red Hummingbird and does not aim
to grow too big. "We don’t anticipate earning big bucks and we
don’t want to become a big press," says Fox. "What we want
is to get books out there that make a social statement. We want to
draw attention to good books that could then be taken on by another
company with a capacity for wider distribution."
Red Hummingbird will work closely with its authors,
involving them in many pre-publication decisions regarding editing,
design, and marketing their books. They will also be invited to join
an authors’ council that will make recommendations about editorial
and publishing policies.
Author and Princeton resident Virginia Stuart, 89, has had a
career as the first woman editor of Princeton University Press and
as one of the first public relations directors for hospitals and
organizations. While raising three children and holding these jobs,
she also wrote fiction, and has had short stories published in
Harper’s, and other literary magazines.
The daughter of Danish immigrant parents, she was raised in Wisconsin.
She first became interested in the Danish rescue of the Jews when,
following the accounts of the Eichmann trial, she began research and
Stuart’s "Candle in a Dark Time," a work of historical
takes place in October, 1943, in Nazi-occupied Denmark. The plot
around four sisters who accidentally learn that their Jewish
are about to be rounded up and taken to concentration camps. This
is the 89-year-old Stuart’s first published novel. Its release
with the 60th anniversary of the rescue of most of Denmark’s 7,800
Is it anachronistic to launch a new press in an era of ever higher
technological innovation? "The 21st century may be a curious time
for a new press, but I’m optimistic," says Fox. "I still like
to curl up with a good book. We plan to be open minded about this
intriguing 21st century we’re in, but I still like a bound book most
— Nicole Plett
102 Witherspoon Street, 609-924-8777.
Book party for "Candle in a Dark Time" by Virginia Stuart.
Free. Sunday, October 26, 4 to 6 p.m.
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