November 6, 2019
People of the Press is back this week! Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we would also like to celebrate our dedicated publishing professionals throughout our 60th anniversary year.
Today we’re featuring our Editor-In-Chief Kristen Buckles.
Hello Kristen, what do you do for the Press?
I am the editor-in-chief and an acquisitions editor. This means that I oversee the editorial program while also bringing in book projects. The acquisition areas I work on are history, Latinx studies, Native American and Indigenous studies, border studies, and the Southwest. University of Arizona Press books are largely about the Americas, but many of our titles in Native American and Indigenous studies and anthropology extend to topics across the globe. In the case for our space science list, it’s beyond!
How long have you worked at UA Press?
I have been here for fifteen years. I started in 2004 as the director’s assistant and moved into to the acquisitions department a couple of years after that. The Press is truly a second home for me. I love working here.
The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your work?
The old cliché about learning something new everyday is so apt here. It’s the nature of our work: we are all learning about the world we live in (and beyond!) through our daily engagement with the book content. So going back to the question, specifying one thing would be impossible! In general, though, by working on University of Arizona Press books for the last fifteen years, I would say I am much more aware of the complex history of the Americas and the challenges we face today, particularly in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands where the Press is located. I have also come to really appreciate the value of poetry and creative expression as a means to raise awareness of complex issues. Here are two great examples: Poetry of Resistance and Iep Jaltok.
What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
University presses in general rely heavily on peer review to develop projects and make editorial decisions. Rigorous peer review is foundational to university press publishing, and as such, everything that has a University of Arizona Press imprint has gone through an external peer-review process before acceptance, including our poetry, creative works, and others.
Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just curl up and read?
I love going to readings at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. And every single bookstore in Tucson—from the UA Bookstore to the Barnes and Nobles to Bookman’s, Antigone, and the indies—is my favorite spot to find a good book. Tucson is a place for readers; just come to the Tucson Festival of Books to see! As for my favorite place to curl up and read: a weekend morning at home, smell of coffee in the background, completely quiet except for morning birdsong and a snoring spaniel by my side.