Founded in 2005 in Washington, D.C., and modeled after Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press, Tenley Circle Press (TCP) is a micro-publishing house committed to enhancing children’s lives with smart, handsome, entertaining books.
All TCP books address in an entertaining way educational, ethical, and environmentally responsible themes for a discerning audience of children and their families, teachers, and librarians. TCP actively supports children’s literacy and wellness in schools and libraries.
All TCP books are produced in the DC/Maryland/Virginia region by means of a symbiotic process, with all participants – writers, illustrators, editors, designers, and printers – helping one another across disciplines and sharing strong health, safety, and environmental policies.
TCP provides consulting and editing services to aspiring writers.
TCP’s adult imprint, Still Point Books, offers books for grownups and helps TCP make significant annual contributions to DC/MD/VA young people’s literacy and wellness nonprofits.
TCP is an active organizational member and supporter of The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C. and The Friends of Tenley-Friendship Library (D.C. Public Library).
I’m obsessed with everything about books. I dream of them, spend crazy amounts of my retirement money on them, lose myself reading them, write and edit them, design them, hoard and sell them, and eagerly give them away to others.
I’ve been a bibliophile for as long as I can remember. When my mother saw that at four years old I could read, she inveigled Edna Curtis, the librarian of the Squantum branch of The Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts, to bend the rules and issue me my own library card. A couple of years later, Mrs. Curtis agreed to turn a blind eye on child-labor laws and “hire” me as a library page. Since those early days I have loved being in libraries, cradling, opening, shelving, and borrowing books and taking them home, where I would lose myself in their contents. My realization in junior high school that language-arts teachers made their living talking about books with kids like me, was my lightbulb moment. I was hooked, personally and professionally, on a life in books.
Eventually, after a long, happy career as a language-arts teacher, I retired from my classroom in 2002. One of my first long reads that summer was Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf. I read and re-read Lee’s chapter about the founding and operation of the Hogarth Press. I imagined Virginia poring over her sister Vanessa’s cover art at breakfast, writing and revising all morning, setting type and running the press all afternoon, cajoling friends at tea to submit manuscripts, and looking over Leonard’s shoulder before bedtime while he did the finances. The Woolfs became my role models. It only took a walking conversation about them with my husband Peter around our DC neighborhood near Tenley Circle to convince him to join me in founding and operating Tenley Circle Press. Since that walk the Woolfs have affirmed my faith in the written word and the wholesomeness of work. They have taught me to regard even the dry facets of the book business – managing advertising, keeping financial records, fulfilling orders, even filing taxes (!) – as acts of community building, wellness, and love.
So that’s why I am head-over-heals in love with my work at Tenley Circle Press, now in its fifteenth year. Together with a crackerjack circle of imaginative, talented writers, illustrators, graphic designers, and printers, Peter and I have birthed and sent out into the world ten Tenley Circle Press books, learned whopping amounts about a long-lived and ever-changing industry, cultivated deep-rooted personal habits and radically new skills, and made a widening circle of treasured friends.
Despite its challenges for this wobbly, gray-haired amateur businesswoman, Tenley Circle Press has been an altogether thrilling enterprise. Good, beautiful books are lifelines to their readers, and I am buoyed in these turbulent times by working to make them alongside likeminded book lovers. My thanks to all who have supported us in this undertaking!
j.a. creative has worked with Tenley Circle Press for over ten years, working on book layout and design and the recently redesigned logo and website. Based in Falls Church, Virginia, j.a. creative is a woman-owned and award-winning marketing firm that provides strategic marketing and creative services for businesses, non-profits, and associations.
KKPDC | Kwik Kopy Printing of Washington, D.C., is a full-service design, print, marketing and mailing firm that helps individual clients, nonprofits, and businesses like Tenley Circle Press perfect their communications.