About this Press

Mission

Pleasure Boat Studio: A Nonprofit Literary Press is dedicated to enriching readers with eye-opening stories and poetry by incredible talent, with heart, originality, and love of language.

How we got our name

…from Pleasure Boat Studio, an essay written by Ouyang Xiu, Song Dynasty poet, essayist, and scholar, on the twelfth day of the twelfth month in the renwu year (January 25, 1043):

“I have heard of men of antiquity who fled from the world to distant rivers and lakes and refused to their dying day to return. They must have found some source of pleasure there. If one is not anxious for profit, even at the risk of danger, or is not convicted of a crime and forced to embark; rather, if one has a favorable breeze and gentle seas and is able to rest comfortably on a pillow and mat, sailing several hundred miles in a single day, then is boat travel not enjoyable? Of course, I have no time for such diversions. But since ‘pleasure boat’ is the designation of boats used for such pastimes, I have now adopted it as the name of my studio. Is there anything wrong with that?”

Translated by Ronald Egan

History

Our press started in 1996 by Bill Slaughter and Jack Estes. Bill stepped aside three years later to focus his attention on Mudlark, the electronic journal of poetry and poetics. Jack continued with the press, moving it in 2002 from its initial home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, to the Upper West Side, NY. 

In 2006, with the publication of Homicide My Own, we started a new imprint—Caravel Mystery Books—specifically for mysteries. That same year, with the publication of Speak to the Mountain: The Tommie Waites Story, we started another imprint—Aequitas Books—for non-fiction. Though the imprint names were lovely, books have been published simply as Pleasure Boat Studio as of 2017.

The following year, Michael Daley and some of his colleagues in Port Townsend, Washington, decided to resuscitate a dormant Empty Bowl Press, so they asked if Pleasure Boat Studio could help in some way. As a result, Empty Bowl was considered a Division of Pleasure Boat Studio. Empty Bowl is independent now, but we still promote each other’s new work, along with occasional joint book readings.

Pleasure Boat Studio continues with the greatly respected reputation Jack Estes built through his high standards of authors and books, and his excellent work editing and publishing. Jack loved this work, the press, and especially the authors, which he says was the best part. Jack still loves to edit. He was a wonderful mentor and I’m grateful to him and his invaluable input.

How I came to take over the press: I had designed covers for PBS now and again for a few years and rather enjoyed it. When Jack Estes wanted to retire, I worried I would miss it, and working with him, and worried about what would become of all of these amazing authors and their books. He asked if I would be interested in taking over the press, and after deliberation, I decided to test it out for a year. He taught me a lot over that year, and I published my first couple of books under his guidance. He had twelve manuscripts to choose from. I knew I really wanted to publish The Fabrications by Baret Magarian and then Isaac by Robert Karmon. I couldn’t see either of these not getting out into the world. They needed to be. I decided to take over the press, despite the financial risk, because it was rewarding, cool work, and more interesting than alternatives I could take. I enjoy design, editing, the authors, and other connections. How could I say no to this incredible gift and opportunity? Soon after, I applied to become a nonprofit. The website was recreated/modernized by Ken Bodensteiner who showed me the ropes so I could continue filling in the metadata, update people’s pages, and alter the design as I pleased. I am humbled by and grateful for the exceptional writers I get to work with. They are all very intelligent, talented, kind, considerate, interesting, gracious people. 

In 2020, Pleasure Boat Studio developed a small advisory board. 2021 is going to be another excellent year for books and will include some female authors as I’d hoped, for a little more balance in the field. 

—Lauren Grosskopf, Publisher / Designer

NONPROFIT CORPORATION  /  EIN 82-3128519  /  D‑U‑N‑S Number is 080932413  /  UBI 604-179-537  /  Business ID#: 001  /  Location: 0001

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