RONNA FAABORG Ames Tribune
AMES (AP) – A national literary journal published by the Iowa State Department of English has created a book publisher, Flyway Books, which celebrates its first impression – a children’s book called “A Moo Cow Came Traveling.”
“Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment” has published poems, stories and essays by writers around the world for over 20 years. “A Moo Cow Came Traveling” represents the publisher’s first book.
It was a “story that just sang” to editor Debra Marquart and her team of graduate student editors.
The whimsical story came from Irish writer Mark Mulholland. Marquart told the Ames Tribune that she and her team loved it, but didn’t think it was a perfect fit for their online journal.
The story tells the story of Elnorvow, a Moo cow traveling through space on a flying bicycle. One day, he arrives in an Irish village for tea with the owner of Meegan’s Pub, where he delights local school children and discusses philosophy with the school principal.
“We immediately started talking about how this would really lend itself to illustration,” said Marquart.
Marquart has known Ames-region illustrator Dorothia Rohner for many years and suggested that Flyway editors look at her work.
People also read …
“The editors got really excited when we looked at his website,” said Marquart. “So this little adventure began.”
The team planned to publish a standalone book on history. Then came the lockdowns linked to COVID-19.
It was during this lockdown that things moved beyond the idea of a stand-alone book.
“One thing led to another,” said Marquart. “Publishing a book requires a number of steps, such as obtaining an ISBN number.
Marquart herself has published seven books. Iowa State Poet Laureate and distinguished professor of liberal arts and science, she is certainly no stranger to publishing. But she had never ordered an ISBN number before. The International Standard Book Number is a unique number assigned to a commercial book.
“I have never been through the process of publishing someone else’s book,” she said. “I contacted the ISBN vendor and ended up buying a pack of 10.”
As a result, “Moo Cow” is the first of at least 10 books that the team plans to release, and Marquart expects them to release about one new book each year.
“It was a project that we loved,” she said. “It’s incredibly laborious and time consuming – and it’s incredibly expensive.”
A donation from Roger S. Hanson made the project possible, Marquart said.
While the team was working during the pandemic, the perpetrator was locked in the south of France. New York-based book designer Christine Kettner, illustrator and editors were also isolated on their site, so much of the collaboration took place on Zoom.
“It was kind of a whimsical adventure for everyone involved,” said Marquart. “Unintentionally, this has become our pandemic concern – we’re going back to ‘Moo Cow’ and working on pieces of it.”
Marquart and his team will be looking for other stories that suit them, although they are not accepting submissions at this time.
“Moo Cow” can be purchased online from the Flyway website, FlywayJournal.org/books.