Jill Soloway is a Celebrity Publisher We Can Actually Get Excited About
The writer and producer’s new imprint will highlight underrepresented voices
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Celebrity can get you a lot of things — like your own publishing imprint, for instance. In the past few years, celebs like Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Oprah Winfrey, and Lena Dunham have all made forays into the business of books. Now, there’s a new celebrity publisher in town, and this one we’re actually excited about. On Tuesday, Amazon announced that writer and producer Jill Soloway will launch their own publishing imprint, TOPPLE Books—as in “topple the patriarchy”—which “will spotlight the voices of women of color, gender non-conforming, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer writers.”
In a statement from Amazon, Jill Soloway said, “We live in a complicated, messy world where every day we have to proactively re-center our own experiences by challenging privilege. With TOPPLE Books we’re looking for those undeniably compelling essential voices so often not heard.” The imprint shares its name with Soloway’s production company, which, according to their website, also aims to help “women, people of color, queer people and their allies…use the power of story and voice to change the world.”
Jill Soloway is the Editor-at-Large, and will be partnering with Little A, Amazon’s literary fiction and nonfiction imprint at Amazon Publishing to bring TOPPLE Books to life. Amazon Publishing, which launched in 2009, is still pretty new to the traditional publishing game. The company’s early emphasis on self-publishing and heavily-discounted book prices was met with serious criticism by those in the traditional publishing world (which had, in some cases, already clashed with Amazon), and the tension hasn’t really gone away. But Soloway is a familiar name for the folks at Amazon, the place where their Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning Transparent and I Love Dick have both found a home. Jeff Bezos seems to get the mission of the imprint, too. In a moment at the Golden Globes last year, as reported by Recode, Soloway told Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos about their goal to combine their vision for an intersectional power movement with their TV and film career. Bezos told Soloway the jobs were one in the same: “The way that a story can make change is so much faster than the way that politics can make change…You create culture that has a story in it that says something as radical as ‘trans people are people’ and then laws follow,” Soloway recounted. Now, Amazon’s giving Soloway another shot at creating something radical.
If we’re going to let celebrities have their own publishing imprints, Jill Soloway is the kind of celebrity we want for the job. Soloway is an activist for LGBTQ rights in the arts, and one of the founders of the #5050by2020 campaign for gender equality and the #TimesUp campaign to end sexual misconduct in the industry. Not to mention Soloway has written their own books, too: an erotic novella, Jodi K., and a memoir, Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants.
No news yet on what TOPPLE’s first book will be, but if you’re looking for more stellar people using storytelling as a force for good, you can start with our list of books by women of color to read in 2018 or these 5 Books that Explore the Vibrancy and Diversity of Gay Male Life Today chosen by Garth Greenwell.