Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-11-15
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Chicago's Featherproof Books gets heavy with post-election activism
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Gregg Shapiro

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Founded in 2005 by writers Zach Dodson and Jonathan Messinger, Chicago-based Featherproof Books is known for publishing "strange and beautiful fiction and nonfiction and post-, trans-, and inter-genre tragicomedy." This is in keeping with Dodson and Messinger's original mission to publish whatever they wanted. In 2014, Tim Kinsella ( author of Featherproof titles All Over and Over and The Karaoke Singer's Guide to Self-Defense ) took over as publisher and Jason D. Sommer was named editor-in-chief.

Under Kinsella and Sommer's guidance, Featherproof experienced its greatest success in 2015 with Jessica Hopper's The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, now it its sixth printing ( featuring Hopper's writing on queer artists including Tegan and Sara, as well as St. Vincent ). Kinsella and Sommer are making waves again, this time with a planned donation to organizations benefiting disenfranchised populations in light of the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Windy City Times spoke with Sommer about this and more a few days after the election.

Windy City Times: The homepage of the Featherproof Books website ( ) reads, "We are gutted and terrified by the recent revelations of just how dark, small-minded, scared, and hateful the American collective unconscious can be. But we are ready to fight the long fight ahead for the basic rights and dignities of all people.

"We are a small company and wish we could do more, but this is what we can do: From Nov. 10—17, with the discount code LOVETRUMPSHATE, our entire catalog is 20 percent off and 100 percent of all sales will go directly to Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, Equality Illinois, and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights." What was involved in the process of coming up with this discount/donation program?

Jason D. Sommer: It wasn't much of a process and I do have to give Tim [Kinsella, publisher] credit for this. He sent me an email yesterday [Nov. 10] morning, saying, "Should we do something? Give our stuff away?" I said, "Yes, we absolutely need to do that." Tim had written that message and I put it in an email, online and on social media.

WCT: How has the response been to this generous offer?

JDS: It's been really great. I can't say it's been viral, but we definitely have been getting orders from all over the country. I think that last time I checked, we've gotten 35 orders in the last 24 hours. Which is extraordinary for us; we'll maybe get one a day. It's all been really positive. Even people who aren't buying our stuff have been sending emails and contacting us via social media saying "Thanks you so much for doing this. It's wonderful. I'm going to tell everybody about this." In fact, the only complaint we got was from someone who emailed us to say that I forgot to put a link in the email for the website, [laughs] which is totally my fault. Other than that, it's been overwhelmingly positive.

WCT: Is this the first time that Featherproof Books has done something of this nature?

JDS: To my knowledge, it is. I do have to say with a caveat the Tim and I have only been running Featherproof for about two and a half years now. Before that it was Zach Dodson for 10 years and he may have very well done something like this.

WCT: Did you watch the election returns on the night of Nov. 8?

JDS: I actually stayed up to watch. I didn't go to bed until 2:30 in the morning or something like that.

WCT: Do you personally consider yourself to be an activist?

JDS: I guess in some ways, yes. I've been working for non-profits for most of my career. This probably isn't widely known, but Tim and I do Featherproof as a side project on nights and weekends. We squeeze it in in-between the jobs we do to live, to make money. I think Tim would certainly consider himself an activist. We have talked about it at Featherproof, whether we need to be more vocal as activists. I think this is probably our first step into doing that.

WCT: For the uninitiated, what can you tell me about the genesis of the name of Featherproof Books?

JDS: I think it has something to do with the inherent conflicting ideas that are involved with the name Featherproof. A feather is light and wispy. Proof is hard, like making a case with hard facts. The confluence of these two things that don't necessarily go together. I think they do. Lots of people love our name. I love our name.

WCT: You mentioned that you've been editor-in-chief at with Featherproof Books for about two and half years.

JDS: I think I started in spring of 2014. Tim had come on, taken it over from Zach, a few months before that.

WCT: What brought you to the world of publishing?

JDS: I got an MFA [in creative writing] from Eastern Washington University. I had worked for a literary magazine out there. I was their managing editor.

WCT: With whom did you study at Eastern Washington University?

JDS: Sam Ligon and Greg Spatz. Sam Ligon is actually the person responsible for getting me involved with Featherproof. He had run into Zach at a conference. Zach told him he was looking for help. I actually started out as a volunteer with Zach at Featherproof back in 2012. When Tim took it over, Zach said, "You should probably work with this guy." There was an opportunity for me to move a little higher up in the organization, like a co-owner.

WCT: LGBT organization Equality Illinois was selected by Featherproof to be one of the beneficiaries of proceeds from the LoveTrumpsHate sale. Do you know if Featherproof Books has any queer writers currently or forthcoming on its roster?

JDS: You could look at See You In The Morning by Mairead ( Case ) as something that would appeal to the community. We don't usually ask authors' sexual orientation or gender when we're looking at their manuscripts. It is entirely possible that one of our current or forthcoming authors is, I just couldn't say for sure.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

World news: Olympic resolution, 'LGBTQ Poland' book, Canada's apology 2017-11-20 - All 193 United Nations member-states adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution maintaining language protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, a press release noted. ...

Gay News

Engaging Prospective Transgender, Non-Binary Foster and Adoptive Parents, a new guide 2017-11-16 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation, released Promising Practices for Serving Transgender & Non-Binary Foster & Adoptive Parents, ...

Gay News

World news: Theologian, Gaydar co-founder die, crocodile hunter 2017-11-14 - Gregory Baum—who as a theological expert at the Second Vatican Council was one of the drafters of the conciliar document Nostra Aetate, the ...

Gay News

Change Over Time Journal calls for LGBTQ papers 2017-11-14 - Change Over Time, a semiannual journal publishing original articles on the history, theory, and praxis of conservation and the built environment, is calling ...

Gay News

Awa Tsireh paintings, metalworks exhibit in Arizona 2017-11-14 - The unique collection of work by San Ildefonso artist Awa Tsireh ( also known as Alfonso Roybal and Cat Tail Bird ) is ...

Gay News

Marriage Equality USA publishes The People's Victory 2017-11-13 - New York, NY - Marriage Equality USA ( MEUSA ) announces the release of an inspiring new book of essays showcasing the organization's ...

Gay News

Reyna Ortiz book release highlights Vives Q event 2017-11-10 - Vives Q presented the final edition of its First Tuesday series for 2017 with a special book-release celebration Nov. 7 for trans activist ...

Gay News

Professor/writer Danny Cohen featured at Holocaust museum event 2017-11-08 - The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum ( USHMM ) Midwest regional office hosted a talk featuring Northwestern University and Crown Family Center for ...

Gay News

Homocore marks 25th anniversary 2017-11-08 - On Nov. 2-4, founders Joanna Brown and Mark Freitas marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of Homocore Chicago with a three-day retrospective ...

Gay News

Unabridged to host essayists Nov. 9 2017-11-08 - Essayist David Lazar will be launching his third collection, I'll Be Your Mirror: Essays and Aphorisms ( Nebraska ) at Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 ...


Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.