HISTORY OF FREE RIVER PRESS
Read "A Search for America," a narrative history of Free River Press.
1989. Writing workshop is established at MATTHEW 25, a shelter for homeless men in Nashville. The workshop includes women as well as men, homeless and non-homeless. National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" airs a story on the workshop. Steven Meinbresse, Coordinator of Homeless Services for the State of Tennessee and Robert Wolf decide to create a nonprofit press to publish homeless writings.
1990. Writing workshops for the homeless are established in Memphis by antiquarianmap dealer and former farmer Murray Hudson and in Knoxville by formerly homeless poet Diana Schooler. Free River Press is incorporated as a nonprofit educational corporation chartered in Tennessee.
1990-1991. Free River Press publishes six books by the homeless.
1991. Nashville workshop leader Robert Wolf moves to rural Iowa and establishes a workshop with local farm families. The first farm book, Voices from the Land, is featured on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and in an Associated Press story that runs in almost every major newspaper in the country.
1992-1994. Small Midwestern towns begin sponsoring 3-day Free River Press writing workshops for residents, resulting in a series of self-portraits of rural villages, including the Amana Colonies.
1995. "CBS Sunday Morning" produces a feature on Free River Press. The press publishes its first regional anthology, Heartland Portrait.
1995-Present. The press runs workshops in west Tennessee and Helena, Arkansas, collecting stories for an anthology of Mississippi Delta writings.
1997. Free River Press publishes The Northeast Iowa Book, the first multi-county regional development book of its kind.
1999. Oxford University Press publishes a collection of Free River Press writings, An American Mosaic: Prose and Poetry by Everyday Folk. First Chicago workshop organized.
2001. Work begins on a six-county regional development book, The Iowa River Corridor Book, cosponsored with The Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College and the Iowa Valley Resource, Conservation & Development agency.
2002. Free River Press conducts workshops in Manhattan and Teaneck, New Jersey for Jews and Palestinians with firsthand experience of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, annual writing workshops collecting New York City stories begin.
2003. Publication of Violence in the Holy Land, written by Jews and Arabs. Contributors read at Riverside Church.
2004. Free River Press conducts workshops at the 63rd Street YMCA in New York. The Riverside Church workshop writers read at The Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.
2006-Present. Robert Wolf lives half-time in New Mexico, conducting workshops across northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.
2006. Through grants from the McCune Charitable Foundation, FRP conducts workshops in New Mexico to document cultural change in the state. The first New Mexico volume, Ayer Y Ahora, is published. Robert Wolf conducts five days of writing workshops at The Pueblo of Pojoaque.
2007. FRP wins a Heritage Preservation Award for Publication from the State of New Mexico for Ayer Y Ahora. An anthology of writings from the Pueblo of Pojoaque is prepared for publication.
2008. The early history of Free River Press, "œIn Search of America," appears in the January 2008 issue of "The Journal of Rural Mental Health," published by the Idaho State University Press. Click here to read the article.
2009. FRP publishes a second, enlarged edition of Heartland Portrait: Stories from the Rural Midwest.
2010. FRP launches its weekly half-hour radio program, €"American Mosaic,"€ featuring FRP stories, read by their writers with commentaries by Wolf.
2011. "œAmerican Mosaic" is aired regularly in 8 states. Mixed Beans: Stories from New Mexico, Past and Present, is published. Robert Wolf conducts a writing workshop in Channing, Texas, collecting stories from cowboys and wives.
2012. Robert Wolf organizes a group of volunteers to research a revised SCAN for The Northeast Iowa Book, for projected publication in 2012.