Best Book Publisher - 2009
In an industry that's getting pummeled into a concussed daze, Graywolf Press—now in its 35th year—has emerged as one of the few fit contenders in book publishing. While some of the big, New York-based houses are hemorrhaging employees and even ceasing acquisitions, Graywolf's titles and authors continue to flourish, consistently winning international prizes and showing up on annual "Best of" lists. Just in the last couple of years, poets Mary Jo Bang and Matthea Harvey's books were listed as New York Times notable books, Salvatore Scibona's The End was a finalist for the National Book Award, Benjamin Percy won the prestigious Whiting Award for his story collection Refresh, Refresh, Per Petterson has become a ubiquitous best-seller, Charles Baxter turned into a de facto professor-in-residence for the national literary community, and Elizabeth Alexander was selected to read an original poem for Obama's presidential inauguration. Not bad for a press that only publishes about 30 books a year. Their focus on quality over quick profits means they probably won't be putting out any trendy young-adult novels about wizards or vampires in the near future. Still, Graywolf's commitment to artistic expression has endowed the press with a level of integrity that's begun to attract readers and authors alike.