Introducing Bright Leaf


We are delighted to announce the launch of our new imprint, Bright Leaf: Books that Illuminate.

Focused on New England, these accessible and entertaining titles explore a variety of subjects, ranging from the region’s culinary traditions and flora and fauna to its distinctive landmarks and beloved pastimes. Written for a general audience, Bright Leaf offers readers the tools and inspiration to fully experience the history, culture, and diversity of New England.

“We believe Bright Leaf will serve New Englanders and tourists with books that deepen their understanding of what makes this region wonderful,” said Mary Dougherty, Director of University of Massachusetts Press. She added that “Bright Leaf evokes the famous foliage of the region, and suggests the illuminated and illuminating pages of a book.”

Bright Leaf will publish 4-5 titles per year encompassing all of New England, and will be available at a trade discount through all major channels, in-store and online. Senior Editor Brian Halley remarked that this expansion was a natural fit for UMass Press: “We have been publishing books with a strong regional focus for many years. Bright Leaf will allow us to connect actively with a wider readership.”

Executive Editor Matt Becker noted that “In order to offer deep, rich, surprising narratives of New England’s past and present, Bright Leaf will focus on four primary areas: foodways and culinary culture, nature and environment, local history, and narrative guides to the region.”

Bright Leaf’s “starting lineup” is eminently readable, and includes:

  • House Stories: The Meanings of Home in a New England Town (September) by Beth Luey takes readers on a narrative tour of ten historic homes in the coastal town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and considers the multiple meanings of “home” for inhabitants and their families—among them a Japanese castaway and his rescuer, a self-made millionaire, and a lighthouse keeper.
  • Bricklayer Bill: The Untold Story of the Workingman’s Boston Marathon (October) by Patrick L. Kennedy and Lawrence W. Kennedy relates the dynamic story of racing legend Bill Kennedy, who against all odds won the Boston Marathon in 1917, and survived a five-story fall, typhoid fever, auto and train accidents, and action in the First World War in the years surrounding his win.
  • Concrete Changes: Architecture, Politics, and the Design of Boston City Hall (March 2018) by Brian M. Sirman offers an accessible introduction to Boston’s “most hated building,” detailing its idealistic roots in the 1960s and its vexed reception in the decades that followed.