UNO Press Spotlight: Continental Divide

Vinicio Hernandez, News Editor

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For over a decade, UNO’s printing press, the aptly titled UNO Press, has sat as a hidden gem among the Liberal Arts building’s other diamonds, such as its inviting, green courtyard and the humorous cut-out comics professors place on their office doors. The press, alongside other publications present on campus, such as the Ellipsis and Bayou literary magazines, has stood the test of time in encouraging new voices, whether those upcoming authors have lived here for a few seasons or for a few years. 

 

The press, according to its official website, seeks work “that contributes to the rich cultural tradition of New Orleans and the surrounding region, as well as work that contributes to the intellectual and aesthetic life of academic and general audiences everywhere.” Operated by Editor-in-Chief Abram Shalom Himelstein and graduate students in UNO’s MFA program, the press continues in this venture this semester with the upcoming publication of writer and transgender advocate Alex Myers’s second novel “Continental Divide.”

 

Slated for a Nov. 30 publication date, Myers’s semi-autobiographical bildungsroman follows Harvard freshman Ron Bancroft and the recovery of his sense of identity after coming out as a transgendered man. Disowned by his family, rejected by his girlfriend and lacking the funds to continue his studies, he leaves for Wyoming to start anew, yet finds the terrain more unwelcoming than he could have ever imagined. 

 

Myers, born in western Maine, has campaigned for transgender rights since coming out as transgendered person himself his senior year of high school. Beginning his female-to-male transition while attending Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, Myers became the first transgender student in the Academy’s history since its establishment in 1781. While enrolled in Harvard University, Myers, as its first openly transgender student, advocated for a revision of its non-discrimination clause to include gender identity. After earning a Master’s in Theology from Brown University, Myers pursued a career as a high school English teacher, and for over 25 years helped middle and high schools construct inclusive cultures about gender through conferences with administrators about school policy, facilitating faculty workshops about gender, and educating students, fellow teachers and parents about transgender history. 

 

Myers’s debut novel, “Revolutionary,” published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster, was praised as “remarkable” by The New York Times. Myers’s second novel “Continental Divide” has already been named as part of Publisher’s Weekly’s roundup for LBGT adult fiction, and is slated as the 2019 Winner of the UNO Press’s Publishing Lab Prize. Winners of this Prize receive a $10,000 advance on royalties and a contract to publish with the UNO Press.

 

Myers begins a marketing campaign for the book, including speaking engagements at libraries, schools and bookstores across the country, on Nov. 1. The UNO Press can be located on campus in room 138 of the Liberal Arts Building, or online on Twitter (@unopress), Instagram (@uno_press), or Facebook (@uofneworleanspress). For further inquiries about the UNO Press or directives towards involvement with the press, contact Editor-in-Chief Abram Shalom Himelstein at the following address: [email protected] 

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