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The beginning of the 2016-17 academic year signaled a new era of academic and literary scholarship at Keystone College.

The College officially re-introduced Nightshade Press, a publisher of literary works, which had operated at Keystone before taking a temporary hiatus in 2010. Keystone has also launched Keystone College Press to publish scholarly works by members of Keystone’s faculty as well as faculty members at other regional colleges and universities.

Keystone will celebrate both presses with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony on September 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Koelsch House on campus, followed by a reception in Evans Hall. The evening will be highlighted with a reading by young-adult author and poet Gail Carson Levine and several contributors to Down the Doghole, an anthology of 11 Northeastern Pennsylvania poets, released by Nightshade Press that same night.

“We are really excited to offer both a literary press and an academic press,” said Keystone College instructor Ray Hammond, who coordinated efforts to get both presses underway. “They will provide an excellent opportunity to expand quality literary and academic offerings to the Keystone community on a regular basis. In fact, Keystone College Press will be the only academic press in our region. It took a lot of hard work to get to this point, but we are thrilled to be here.”

Nightshade Press has had a stellar reputation as a literary press since it was brought to Keystone from Maine in 2003 by the late Karen Blomain, a Keystone faculty member, poet, and novelist. Nightshade published literary works consistently through 2009 and is once again publishing after a six-year hiatus.

Both Nightshade Press and Keystone College Press were unofficially introduced to the Keystone community last summer at the 10th annual meeting of The Gathering, a highly respected conference on creativity and imagination held each July.  During the conference, Keystone College Press introduced its first book: The Gathering at Keystone College: A Decennial Celebration, a compilation of conference highlights, photographs, and presentations from the nine previous years. The book was edited and researched by 2016 Keystone graduate Christina Sinibaldi, Dalton, as part of her senior capstone project.

Several other Keystone students also played key roles in the introduction of both presses. Sophomore Aleigh Smith, Lehighton, “went above and beyond expectations in her transcription of numerous audio recordings from previous years of The Gathering,” Ray said.

A graphic design class taught by Professor of Fine Arts David Porter helped with numerous projects, including the design of the Keystone College Press logo by student Ashley Purdy, Factoryville. Christina and Aleigh also worked on Nightshade’s introduction of Transient a book of poems by Ms. Carson Levine, who has been a frequent Gathering participant.

“Introducing these works at The Gathering was a great way to begin the new era of Nightshade and to announce the formation of Keystone College Press,” said Ray, who is also the editor of the New York Quarterly, another highly respected poetry publication. “Having the students involved really made this project very special. They were extremely dedicated and did excellent work.”

Nightshade Press and Keystone College Press will enable Keystone to highlight the scholarly works of its faculty to a regional and national audience.

“We are so pleased to have both of these presses up and running. The dedication and support by the College has been fantastic and we look for many more progress-filled years to come,” Ray said.