The Humans of IUP blog series focuses on the stories of our staff members, who help create all our wonderful books and journals. Follow #HumansofIUP on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to learn more about the people behind our publishing program.
“Part of the role of a university press is to illuminate the lives of people by bringing world class books to them, but also to bring their experiences out to the world. People now know more about Indiana’s lives, histories, and cultures than ever before because of the work we are doing in this office. It’s a worldwide-readership interested in what Hoosiers do.” —Gary Dunham, Director of IU Press and Digital Publishing
Originally from a 16-person valley in Maine called Roe Hill, which “isn’t on the map because it’s too friggen' small,” IUP director Gary Dunham was the first to ever leave home to attend school. After graduating from UVA in Charlottesville, he became an archaeologist and spent two years excavating in Rome before switching to working with Native Americans. Then, 20 years ago, he decided to go into publishing.
Along the way he decided to lose his Maine accent, which he describes as “putting the 'ERs' back into my mouth,” because in his hometown people substituted the “—ER” endings of words with an “H” sound. [Editor's note: Contrary to what he says, Gary has definitely NOT lost his Maine accent.]
“If you want to speak like my family,” he says, “you have to talk like this, eyah, you have to take the cah down the rood, fer a drive, then I’m gonna pahk the cah and get some lobstah.”
He came to IUP because of its longstanding reputation as a distinguished scholarly press, and the exciting opportunity offered by the collaboration between the Office of Scholarly Publishing and Indiana University Press.
Plus, he and his wife had decided they wanted to retire in a small Midwestern town, and Bloomington seemed the perfect place. “I love the Midwest. I get the Midwest. I understand the Midwest. It’s a very real and interesting part of the country. It’s easy to find your roots here. I would say when I moved to Bloomington, I just fell in love with the town very quickly. It became home. When you fly back, and you think, ‘I’m coming home,’ that’s when you know that you’ve found the right place.”
As director, he spends his days being the “face” of Indiana University Press to the outside world. He focuses on building and facilitating relationships between the press and deans, directors, and universities throughout the country. He appreciates that IUP’s small staff size makes it feel like a family.
In his free time, Gary likes to read science fiction and fantasy novels, especially anything by Stephen King, whom he has met. Salem’s Lot, his favorite King novel, kept him up all night the first time he read it. Gary can also ride a unicycle.
He has been a proud member of IU Press since 2014.
Tweet Gary: @GaryDunhamIUP