History

Bill Henderson, Founder of the Pushcart Press

Bill Henderson, Founder of Pushcart Press

Pushcart Press was founded by Bill Henderson from a studio apartment in Yonkers, New York in 1972. A soon to be ex-editor at Doubleday Co., Henderson invested his tiny savings in the revolutionary The Publish It Yourself Handbook (1973) and distributed it by foot and auto. This collection of essays by Anais Nin, Stewart Brand, Virginia and Leonard Woolf and twenty others sold over 70,000 copies in four editions and was one of the keystones of the modern small press revolution.

Village Voice interviews Henderson about The Publish It Yourself Handbook, January 27, 1975

Village Voice interviews Henderson about The Publish It Yourself Handbook,
January 27, 1975

 

Pushcart Prize I, published in 1976

Pushcart Prize I, published in 1976

In 1976, Henderson and a group of Founding Editors that included Paul Bowles, Ralph Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates and Reynolds Price, started the Pushcart Prize anthology to recognize and celebrate the best work in the rapidly expanding independent publishing movement. Through the years since, the Prize has honored the art of thousands of writers and hundreds of presses. Each edition features reprints of work by about sixty authors from dozens of presses as selected from nominations by small press editors and Pushcart’s staff of distinguished Contributing Editors (for more information go to http://www.pushcartprize.com/).

George Plimpton and Bill Henderson

George Plimpton (Left) and Bill Henderson celebrate Pushcart Prize X.
Photo Credit: Nancy Crampton, 1986

The Pushcart Prize has become “a stalwart and a staple of American Letters” (Kirkus Reviews), “a distinguished annual literary event” (New York Times Book Review), and “the ex-officio house organ of the American literary cosmos” (Chicago Tribune). “When the future wants to know about our arts and letters, this is the publication it will turn to,” remarked poet Sherod Santos.