In 1983, Algonquin Books set up shop in a woodshed behind cofounder Louis Rubin’s Chapel Hill, NC, home. He and Shannon Ravenel founded Algonquin as an independent press devoted to publishing literary fiction and nonfiction by undiscovered writers, mostly from the South. And from its very first books Algonquin garnered national attention, with authors—including Julia Alvarez, Jill McCorkle, Robert Morgan, Larry Brown, and, later, Lee Smith—who earned great acclaim and devoted fans.
Acquired by Workman in 1989, Algonquin expanded to include offices in both New York City and Chapel Hill, while holding true to its founding principles to publish quality narrative work that stimulates, enriches, and entertains readers. Algonquin has earned international recognition with numerous bestsellers, in both fiction—including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, B. A. Shapiro’s The Art Forger, and Robert Goolrick’s A Reliable Wife—and nonfiction, including Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist and Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods. In 2013, Algonquin launched the Algonquin Young Readers imprint featuring middle grade and young adult books.