As co-founder of Black Hill Press, Kevin Staniec, BFA film and television production ’01, is a champion of the art of the contemporary American novella. Kevin, along with a panel of fellow alumni authors from Black Hill Press, will be on campus on Monday, April 14 speaking in a panel discussion about the role of the author in a technology-fueled world. All alumni are welcome to attend this free event, which will be held in the Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room on the second floor of Leatherby Libraries from 4 – 6 p.m.
Why did you decide to open Black Hill Press? What makes it different?
Black Hill Press has been a 6-year brainstorming session and we launched in January of 2013. One key difference with Black Hill Press is that every contemporary American novella is released with a collection of three. Each series is titled after the artist that illustrates the covers for the three books. Each book in each set is a complete contrast from one another. Our hope is to challenge readers to jump genres and read out of their normal comfort zone while also considering our print editions as collectibles.
Tell us about your career – what do you do on a day to day basis?
My schedule is filled with reading, writing, editing, and finding new ways to collaborate with contemporary artists and emerging authors.
What insight would you give to current students and alumni about following their passions?
Past tense is important. Finish your thoughts and move on.
What advice do you have for current students who want to make the most out of their time at Chapman?
Question inevitability with ridiculous confidence and fail big. As long as you’re trying, you’re succeeding.
From your time at Chapman, which faculty member(s) made the greatest impact on you and why?
I don’t remember which professor said this, but it still sticks with me to this day. We were writing in class, and he/she said something along the lines of “If you’re writing, you’re a writer.” It changed my whole perception for achieving goals, because up until that point, my dream was to become a writer. It felt good to check that off my to-do list.
How were you involved on campus during your time as a Chapman student?
I played on the basketball team my freshman year and was an Orientation Assistant during my second year. After that, I decided to make a bunch of short films.
What is your favorite Chapman memory?
During the winter of my freshman year in 1997, there was a huge storm that flooded campus and created a wild river that ran down East Walnut…and for some reason listening to a lot of Elliott Smith whenever the weather was overcast.
What was your favorite spot on campus as a student?
Sitting in plastic lawn chairs on the old Argyros Forum patio. I ate a lot of cafeteria french fries during those first few years.
Have you been involved with Chapman since graduating?
I try to stay involved as much as possible and participate in programs for the Department of English and the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. I also love visiting the Old Towne Historic District.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Chapman Family?
Support your independent publishers, bookstores, and libraries. Keep a journal and never stop writing. When you read a good book, recommend it, and share it. Attend book readings and join book clubs. Oh, and visit blackhillpress.com.
Kevin Staniec ’01: Then and Now