Belt Publishing is thrilled to announce a new imprint, to be launched later 2016. The imprint will feature mid-career and emerging authors writing “novella” length non-fiction. We inaugurate the imprint with two of Belt Magazine’s most popular writers:

Edward McClelland
November 2016

The Pittsburgh toilet. Squeaky cheese. City chicken. Shampoo Banana. Chevy in the Hole. These are all phrases that are familiar to Midwesterners, but foreign to anyone living outside the region. Find out what they mean in author Edward McClelland’s upcoming book on Midwestern speech and sayings. McClelland will not only explain what Midwesterners say, but how and why they say it. His book will examine the causes of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, one of the most significant changes in English pronunciation in a thousand years. It will explain why the accents in Fargo miss the nasality that’s a hallmark of Minnesota speech. And why Chicagoans talk more like people from Buffalo than their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin. For outsiders, McClelland will include helpful chapters such as “How to Talk Through Your Nose,” “How to Hold a Conversation Without Using a Complete Sentence,” and “‘Well, That’s Different’: How to Passive-Aggressively Criticize People, Places and Things.” If you’re from the Midwest, you’ll have a better understanding of why you talk the way you do. If you’re not, well, you’ll know exactly what to say the next time someone ends a sentence with “eh?”

Edward McClelland is the author of Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President and Nothin’ But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland. Ted’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles TimesColumbia Journalism Review, Salon, Slate, and The Nation


Mark Athitakis
December 2016

In the public imagination, Midwestern literature hasn’t evolved far beyond heartland laborers and hardscrabble immigrants of a century past. But as the region has changed, so, in many ways, has its fiction. In “The New Midwestern Canon,” Mark Athitakis explores how shifts in work, class, place, race, and culture has been reflected — or ignored — by novelists and short story writers. From Marilynne Robinson to Leon Forrest, Toni Morrison to Aleksandar Hemon, Bonnie Jo Campbell to Stewart O’Nan, the book is a call to rethink the way we conceive Midwestern fiction, and one that’s sure to prompt some new must-have additions to your reading list.


Mark Athitakis has written on books for many publications. He serves on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and has published in The New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Barnes and Noble Review and many other publications. His Reading the Midwest column appears monthly in Belt.

For more information about these titles, including ordering, review copies and event requests, please email Anne at Read here to learn about Belt’s other published and forthcoming titles.