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Grant Goes To Make Feminist Literature Free

A joint grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) was awarded to the Oregon State University Libraries and CALYX Press. The two organizations were awarded more than $96,000 through the Humanities Open Book program. The grant will go towards the digitization and hosting of feminist literature that is out of print and making it available in free e-books. 

CALYX is a Corvallis-based publication and press supporting women’s creative works. 

“CALYX focuses on newer writers, so for some of the authors CALYX was a place for them to get their work published,” Jane Nichols, CALYX treasurer and vice chair, says. “In particular we like to focus on or ensure that women of color, from the U.S. and elsewhere, feel welcome and have a place for their work to be published.”

CALYX has published authors including Julia Alvarez, Chitra Divakaruni, Barbara Kingsolver, Sharon Olds, Linda Hogan and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The OSU Libraries and CALYX plan to make the digitized literature available through creative commons, and plan to launch operations beginning Jan. 1. 

“We’ll be negotiating with authors to adopt a creative commons license,” Nichols says. “That removes any price barrier.” 

The organization hopes to distribute the literature through popular online applications and sites such as Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Books and others.  

“What people may not realize is that over the past 40 years independent presses have struggled to stay alive through the changes in large publishers,” she says. “This project supports independent- and feminist-led press.” 

The grant will help remove barriers for feminist writers but will also make the literature available for people to consume. Nichols says women are under-published in comparison to men, and CALYX is trying to put women’s literature in front of everyone’s eyes.

“Through modern technology, these titles can be far more accessible than they are today,” Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, says in a Dec. 17 press release. The NEH announced $700,000 in new grants in collaboration with the Mellon Foundation to publish out-of-print books in the humanities. 

“These books represent an untapped resource for scholars, teachers, students and members of the public, many of whom turn to the internet as their first stop when looking for information,” Lewis says.