The University Press


by Susan Swartwout
Publisher of the Southeast Missouri State University Press which serves as both a first-rate publisher and as a laboratory for students interested in literary publishing.

One of the great things about Southeast’s University Press is that its books deliver the Southeast name and brand to far-away places. Currently, the Southeast Missouri State University Press is going around the world with its latest book, Academy Gothic by James Tate Hill, winner of the 2014 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. Even before its release on Oct. 1, an electronic copy had been requested by publishers in Switzerland, Germany and Turkey; a film database in South Carolina; a foreign rights agency in New York; a Los Angeles producer; and a book-to-film agency in New York. Two of the biggest book reviewers in the nation, Publishers Weekly and American Library Association’s Booklist, have published positive reviews of Academy Gothic, citing its “dead-on parody of academic jargon and well-spun plot.” The University Press name is traveling, and we can’t wait to see where it goes!

Academy Gothic is a who-done-it, fictional satire of academic life and death at the once respected, now scandalous, Parshall College and of its inhabitants for whom “Fail” is a daily aspiration. Some faculty blame ghosts for its decline. Administrators shrugged and decided not to fix broken windows and doors because it might encourage more vandalism. Tate Cowlishaw, a legally blind, jaded business instructor, walks into the dean’s apparently empty office to pocket a free sub sandwich coupon but instead finds the dean’s body, three bullet holes in the top of his head. The police call it suicide, but Tate knows even an all-powerful dean couldn’t have managed that angle, and he begins a wildly paced, hilarious investigation through office politics and ex-girlfriends to find out who-done-it and why. In the meantime, forces both evil and inept combine to thwart Tate’s efforts . . . not to mention all those papers he should be grading.

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