Bellevue Literary Press was founded in 2005 by Erika Goldman and Jerome Lowenstein, author, M.D., and Professor at New York University School of Medicine, where he also began the Program for Humanistic Aspects of Medical Education. Bellevue is currently headed by publisher and editorial director Erika Goldman, who cofounded the press after over twenty years with a variety of major New York publishers.
The mission of Bellevue Literary Press is ”publishing literary fiction and nonfiction at the intersection of the arts and sciences,” and the press quickly established itself with groundbreaking titles that transcend the simple categories of fiction and nonfiction, art and science.
Just a few of Bellevue’s notable titles include the novel Tinkers by Paul Harding, which gave Bellevue national mainstream recognition when it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, The Leper Compound by Paula Nangle, a girl’s coming-of-age story like no other, set in the last years of war-torn Rhodesia, Jerome Charyn’s A Loaded Gun, a imaginative and unprecedented look at Emily Dickinson that is part biography, part literary criticism,and altogether fascinating, and The Cage by Gordon Weiss, a nonfiction account of the devastation suffered by Sri Lankan civilians when the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in 2009. The Cage was such an important exposé that United Nations diplomat Charles Petrie credited it when reporting on the atrocities committed during the last stages of that war.
Bellevue Literary Press also engages in several outreach programs, most notably within the New York University School of Medicine, where their authors have served as lecturers at the NYU Medical School’s Colloquium of Medical Ethics in the Master Scholars Program, and also guest lecturers at Medical Grand Rounds at the NYU School of Medicine.
Erika Goldman shares with Ploughshares what drives Bellevue’s unique editorial objective, and what it’s like to helm a press that has truly changed the literary landscape, if not, in some small measure, the world.
KF: Your titles all carry such a weight of importance with readers, in part because of the subject matter but also because of the quality of the storytelling, no matter the topic. When you’re choosing a manuscript or working with an author, what qualities would you say contribute to this merging of story with subject, art and science?
EG: While we are committed to publishing books of ideas, it all comes down to the craft; a fine writer can write about any subject and make it compelling.