Les Figues Press was founded by a small group of women—Teresa Carmody, Vanessa Place, Pam Ore, and Sara La Borde—with the belief that creative practice necessarily has a critical component and that aesthetic manifestations should be as multifacted as their interpretations and receptions.
Les Figues Press Annals
2004: Teresa Carmody and Vanessa Place begin Mrs. Porter’s Salon. The salon is structured to draw connections between works presented. A similar structuring principle will guide the formation of the TrenchArt series. Later that year in Paris, Les Figues Press co-founders resume an ongoing conversation about writing and the ethical/civic role of the writer. Inspired by a combination of WWI Trenchart and publications found in kiosks throughout the city, the co-founders settle on a name, publication structure, and start date.
2005: Les Figues Press is established by Teresa Carmody, Vanessa Place, Pam Ore, and Sara La Borde. Les Figues publishes 4 books in the first year. In December, Les Figues files the necessary paperwork to incorporate as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.
2006: Les Figues works with first intern (Danielle Adair) and officially attends first AWP Bookfair (Austin, TX). Les Figues publishes new books by Jennifer Calkins, Vincent Dachy, Sissy Boyd, Nuala Archer, and Stephanie Taylor. Exhibits at West Hollywood Bookfair for the first time and Figues authors participate in performances at PS1 Moma, The Smell, Skylights Books, and more.
2007: Les Figues moves to current location, in full-basement space of house located in the West Adams neighborhood. Allison Carter redesigns the Figues website. Janice Lee and Teresa Carmody plan first annual Les Figues auction, with emcees Ali Liebegott and Matias Viegener. Les Figues publishes new work by Christine Wertheim, Alta Ifland, and Axel Thormählen.
2008: Alta Ifland’s Voice of Ice wins the Louis Gallamard Prose Poetry award in France. Les Figues publishes first non-TrenchArt title, The noulipian Analects, edited by Christine Wertheim and Matias Viegener. The Los Angeles County Arts Commission awards Les Figues its first grant, used to support the production of the TrenchArt series. Anna Joy Springer begins emceeing at Les Figues auction. Les Figues publishes new work by Stan Apps, Kim Rosenfield, and Allison Carter.
2009: The Les Figues board of directors hosts the inaugural Les Figues Press Garden Party: All Figs on Deck. This year, too, Les Figues publishes From JBAD: Lessons Learned, the first book in the Cahier Series. Les Figues publishes new work by Amina Cain, Sophie Robinson, Paul Hoover, and Urs Allemann.
2010: Les Figues receives first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the production, distribution, and promotion of new works of poetry and prose as part of the press’s TrenchArt series. Les Figues also begins residency at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), curating Not Content, a project exploring the ways in which text functions in a gallery space. Amina Cain begins working with Les Figues as the Event Coordinator. Les Figues releases Feminaissance, edited by Christine Wertheim, and publishes new work by Harold Abramowitz, Mathew Timmons, and Lily Hoang.
2011: With support by the City of West Hollywood, Les Figues hosts Both Sides and The Center, a weekend literary festival curated by Amina Cain and Teresa Carmody at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. Les Figues launches the NOS (not otherwise specified) Book Contest. Guest judge Sarah Shun-lien Bynum selects Becca Jensen’s Among The Dead: Ah! And Afterword Yes! as the winner. Les Figues is awarded a grant from the LA County Arts Commission for a paid PR intern position (Chris Hershey-Van Horn was first intern). Les Figues begins residency at the Metabolic Studio, learning about offset printing at the Veterans’ Print Studio and working with veterans and artists to produce Preserving A Home For Veterans. Les Figues publishes new work by Doug Nufer, Myriam Moscona (translated by Jen Hofer), Martin Glaz Serup, and Alex Forman.
2012: Les Figues releases I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, and Vanessa Place, eds.). Les Figues hires part-time staff member, assistant editor, Elizabeth Hall. Teresa Carmody’s short story collection, Requiem, sells out. The City of West Hollywood supports Q.E.D., a short series of long conversations on queer art and literature. Guest judge Sina Queyras selects Jessica Bozek’s The Tales as the winner of the 2012 NOS Contest. Jen Hofer wins the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award offered by the Academy of American Poets, and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Les Figues releases Preserving A Home For Veterans (Lauren Bon, Janet Owen Driggs, Terence Lyons, Richard L. Fox), a special operations report and piece of literal trench art. Les Figues also publishes new work by Kim Rosenfield, Frances Richard, Matias Viegener, and Michael du Plessis.
2013: Launches new website, designed by POTG Design, working with Figues members Teresa Carmody and Chris Hershey-Van Horn. With support from the Metabolic Studio, Les Figues hires Andrew Wessels as full-time managing editor. The City of West Hollywood supports Q.E.D. II, and Kim Calder writes about each event (part one, part two, part three) on Jacket2. Guest judge Aimee Bender selects Colin Winnette’s Coyote as the NOS winner, and Les Figues editors select Sandra Doller’s Leave Your Body Behind, as the NOS editors’ pick. In coordination with Moveable Inc., Les Figues offers 85, a five volume set of translations by Claire Huot and Robert Majzels. The Les Figues board works with consultant Karen Constine to complete our first, formal strategic planning process. Les Figues launches first pdf catalog, and releases new work by Becca Jensen, Mark Rutkoski, Melissa Buzzeo, Dodie Bellamy, Jessica Bozek, and Chris Tysh.
to be continued…