John Oakes is a writer and editor
based in New York City.

John Oakes is a writer and editor
based in New York City.

Photo: Miriam Berkley

Oakes is the publisher of The Evergreen Review, co-founder and director of The New School Publishing Institute, and co-founder of OR Books, a publishing company recognized as one of “the radical alternatives to conventional publishing” (The Guardian). In his thirty years in the business, Oakes has published more than 600 books and negotiated hundreds of contracts with agents, authors, and translators. He started in publishing with Barney Rosset’s legendary Grove Press. Authors of books he has worked on include Julian Assange, Medea Benjamin, Andrei Codrescu, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Cory Doctorow, Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman, Jack Kerouac, Ross King, Gordon Lish, Eileen Myles, Luke O’Neil, Harvey Pekar, Rudy Rucker, Douglas Rushkoff, John Waters, and Edmund White. The subject of a 2019 monograph on publishing by Voyager Japan, Oakes is a former board member of PEN American Center. His essay “Publishing and Culture: The Alchemy of Ideas” was published in The Oxford Handbook of Publishing (2019, Michael Bhaskar and Angus Phillips, eds.).

He was named a “chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” by the French government, and is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University, where he received a European Cultural Studies Certificate and the English Department’s Charles William Kennedy Prize for his thesis on Samuel Beckett. 

Work

Photo: Miriam Berkley

 

Oakes is the publisher of The Evergreen Review, co-founder and director of The New School Publishing Institute, and co-founder of OR Books, a publishing company recognized as one of “the radical alternatives to conventional publishing” (The Guardian). In his thirty years in the business, Oakes has published more than 600 books and negotiated hundreds of contracts with agents, authors, and translators. He started in publishing with Barney Rosset’s legendary Grove Press. Authors of books he has worked on include Julian Assange, Medea Benjamin, Andrei Codrescu, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Cory Doctorow, Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman, Jack Kerouac, Ross King, Gordon Lish, Eileen Myles, Luke O’Neil, Harvey Pekar, Rudy Rucker, Douglas Rushkoff, John Waters, and Edmund White. The subject of a 2019 monograph on publishing by Voyager Japan, Oakes is a former board member of PEN American Center. His essay “Publishing and Culture: The Alchemy of Ideas” was published in The Oxford Handbook of Publishing (2019, Michael Bhaskar and Angus Phillips, eds.).

He was named a “chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres” by the French government, and is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University, where he received a European Cultural Studies Certificate and the English Department’s Charles William Kennedy Prize for his thesis on Samuel Beckett. 


Work