Lesbian Publishing House Founder Grier Dies at 78
Barbara Grier, a founder of what once was the world’s largest publishing house of literature about gays and lesbians, has died. She was 78.
Her partner in life and business, Donna McBride, said Grier died of cancer on Thursday at a hospital in Tallahassee, Fla.
Tallahassee-based Naiad Press was best known for publishing "Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence" in 1985. Fifty-one former or current nuns contributed to the book. It described relationships in their religious communities that sometimes turned into love affairs.
"It was her belief that through literature she could make lesbians feel good about themselves and find a happy life," McBride said from her home in nearby Carrabelle, Fla.
Naiad was publishing 36 books a year before she and Grier sold the company to Bella Books, another publisher of literature about lesbians in Tallahassee, and retired in 2003, McBride said.
Grier was "a savior to isolated lesbians all over the world, many of whom feel intense gratitude," author Karin Kallmaker told The Associated Press. "I have no doubt that books save lives and Barbara put books into the lesbian universe at a rate no one in that era matched."
Kallmaker’s first novel was published by Naiad Press in 1989 and she’s now editorial director of Bella Books.
Grier was born on Nov. 4, 1933 in Cincinnati and realized at an early age she was a lesbian, according to the Ohio Historical Society’s Gay Ohio History Initiative. She began writing for The Ladder and later became the editor of the San Francisco-based lesbian magazine.