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About Us

Pioneers Press is a publishing house and small-press distro focusing on survival and sustainability on the farm and in the city, in addition to health, gender, sexuality, social justice and food movements, and literary works by up-and-coming authors. Since its launch in 2012, Pioneers Press has consistently produced titles that have made the best-seller lists of independent bookstores all over the world, including Powell's Books #1 best-selling small press title of 2013, 2014, and 2015 (Adam Gnade’s The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad).

A woman-owned, family-run business, Pioneers Press emerged from the ashes of the Microcosm Publishing collective, splitting from the company in 2012. A former co-owner of Microcosm, Pioneers Press founder Jessie Duke has worked in independent publishing for 15 years. At 21 she founded and acted as managing editor for Fahrenheit San Diego, a weekly arts and entertainment newspaper with a 40,000 copy circulation. She has since staffed publications such as Herbivore Magazine and the Country Grind Quarterly and has been published by magazines including the Utne Reader and the Portland Mercury. She has also served as a panelist at the Let Live Conference, the Portland Zine Symposium, the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, and the National Arts and Marketing Project Media Panel. 

In 2013, Jessie was awarded a Rocket Grant by the Charlotte Street Foundation and the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art, with funding provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The funded project, the Hard Fifty Farm Zine Mobile, is a touring small-press library and portable educational facility based out of a converted horse trailer, focusing on the empowerment of independent publishing.

Based on the Hard Fifty Farm in rural Kansas, the Pioneers Press staff went “back to the land” in 2010 after stints in San Diego, CA, Norfolk, VA and Portland, OR. As beginner homesteaders and self-identified "farm punks," they raise a variety of crops as well as care for an ever-growing group of rescue animals, including sheep, goats, chickens and ducks, all of which are supported entirely by Pioneers Press sales.

Pioneers Press titles are regularly featured in the mainstream and underground press, including Fast CompanyUtne ReaderMaximum RocknrollBitch MagazineRookie MagNew PagesThe RumpusProfane Existence, and Broken PencilPioneers Press published titles are also distributed by AK Press Distribution in the US and Active Distribution in the UK.

Who We Are:

Jessie Duke owns Pioneers Press and handles author scouting, new title acquisition, manuscript review, zine ordering and inventory management out on the Hard 50 Farm. Contact Jessie if you have questions about submitting your zine or manuscript!

Sarah Tabor is our database manager and works remotely handling back-end website stuff. She lives and works in Okinawa (but we really hope she'll move back to the States soon). Contact Sarah to update your mailing address in our system.

Danielle Duquette (1986-2015) Danielle was our cousin and dear friend. She helped launch Pioneers Press, providing emotional support and working in our fulfillment office. She was generous, funny, clever and nurturing. She had a big heart, and was too gentle for a world this hard. After a life-long search for peace and security, Danielle lost her battle against anxiety and depression, leaving behind her sweet daughter Sophie. Losing Danielle will forever inform the work we do at Pioneers Press, as we strive to find ways to support and help others fighting for their lives. We will miss you always, Dani.