To identify, nurture and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it.
- Artistic Excellence: We are committed to attracting and retaining outstanding writers whose work is of enduring value.
- Independence: In the context of unprecedented consolidation and heightened focus on profitability in the book business, we publish work based on its excellence and transformative value.
- Community Engagement: We publish literature that engages communities, local and international, and build a community around the work we are publishing.
- Leadership: We view the challenges presented by a rapidly changing media culture as opportunities for innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to publishing transformative literature from around the world.
- Sustainability: We are committed to producing content in a way that is environmentally sustainable, and to building an organization that will be sustainable financially for decades to come.
Just as the milkweed plant is the site of metamorphosis for butterflies, Milkweed Editions serves as a source of publications that transcend boundaries and foster transformation. We identify and nurture outstanding literary voices and connect writers with readers in new and innovative ways. We are a driving force for sustaining outstanding literature and exceptional authors in the context of profound changes in the field.
Founded in Minneapolis in 1980, Milkweed Editions is one of the nation’s leading independent, nonprofit literary publishers. Publishing eighteen to twenty books each year, we have some three hundred fifty titles in print, and nearly four million copies of our books in circulation. Over the past three decades, our books and authors have received hundreds of awards and designations of national significance, including three Lannan Literary Awards, four Whiting Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, three American Book Awards, and seven New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year. We are also the proud publisher of thirteen winners of the Minnesota Book Award. Locally, nationally, and internationally, Milkweed Editions is widely respected for the excellence of our publishing program.
Operating as a nonprofit organization allows us to choose titles on the basis of artistic excellence and transformative potential, and to invest significant resources in developing writers’ work and promoting it energetically, benefiting our authors for many years beyond publication. It is challenging—editorially, financially, and organizationally—to publish with such breadth and variety, particularly with a program including many writers as yet unknown to the general reading public. But in the context of unprecedented consolidation and heightened focus on profitability in the book business, we feel strongly that it is just this challenge—the unique mix of books it creates, the entrepreneurial approach it requires—that makes Milkweed Editions a significant force in the publishing world, and a highly respected home for emerging artists.
In addition to our dynamic, international publishing program, Milkweed Editions plays an important role in our region’s cultural life, helping establish the Twin Cities as one of the nation’s foremost centers for the literary arts.
As one of three founding tenants of Open Book, a center for book and literary arts that opened in 2000, Milkweed Editions contributes to one of the most unique literary communities in the world.
Through its Alliance for Reading program, Milkweed Editions has worked for over fifteen years in Twin Cities public schools to promote reading and the literary arts to underserved populations.
Through the Reaching Readers program, Milkweed Editions also provides books to readers who otherwise would not have access to them, including readers in prisons, shelters, underprivileged schools, rural libraries, and other places where good books are badly needed.
Finally, the press also offers a comprehensive publishing internship program that draws students from colleges and universities across the country as well as experienced professionals exploring a change in career. The competitive program has developed a local and regional reputation as one of the best places for those considering a publishing career to get hands-on experience in all aspects of literary publishing.