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Dan Simon

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Dan Simon is an American writer and independent publisher at the juncture between the literary and the political.[1][2][3] An early champion of the American writer Nelson Algren, Simon has written introductions to, co-edited and published several collections of unpublished writings, and co-wrote the playscript for the film, Nelson Algren Live.[4][5][6] At the independent publishing house he founded, Seven Stories Press, he has edited many works of American literature, including Octavia Butler’s last three novels (Parable of Sower, Parable of the Talents, and Fledgling), Kurt Vonnegut’s last canonical book, A Man without a Country, and all of Barry Gifford’s fiction for the last twenty years.[7] He published the National Book Award-winning Poems Seven by Alan Dugan, and Stanley Moss’s Almost Complete Poems, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and many other award-winning and best-selling works of fiction and nonfiction, including Noam Chomsky’s New York Times Bestseller Requiem for the American Dream, two books by Angela Davis, and many books by American historian Howard Zinn.[8][9][10][11][12]

Simon has been an advocate on behalf of independent book publishers and writers, co-creating in 2017, with Tom Hallock, then associate publisher of Beacon Press, the Independent Publishers Caucus, which now has approximately 70 member-publishing houses, and hosts bi-weekly town halls for its members to build skills among independent publishers both as cultural leaders and small businesses.[13] Part of his philosophy at Seven Stories is to keep everything in print and to commit to author’s careers rather than only to individual titles, building up a catalogue that includes nearly the entire output of writers like San Francisco noir novelists Barry Gifford and Peter Plate, French memoirist Annie Ernaux and many others.[14]

Simon’s longform articles for The Nation focus on the overlap between politics and literature.[15] Simon co-authored the recently reissued biography of American activist and environmentalist Abbie Hoffman, Run Run Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman.[16] He has also translated several books from French to English, including Van Gogh: Self Portraits by Pascal Bonafoux.[17][18]

Kurt Vonnegut said of Simon, “He raised me from the dead, as Jesus raised Lazarus.”[19] And a feature article on Simon in the French magazine Livres Hebdo describes him as an “editor-soldier.”[20]

Early Life[edit]

Dan Simon’s father was the medical inventor and clinician Dr. Morris Simon. His mother Josephine Simon was a Boston University professor and a founder of Goddard-Cambridge, a remote learning graduate program, and the Newton Arts Center.[21] His uncle Barney Simon was a South African theatre director and co-founder of the Market Theatre in the center of Johannesburg.[22] Dan Simon grew up during the 1960s in Cambridge and Boston in a loosely knit community of academics and professionals that also included the families of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky.

Simon was educated at the Commonwealth School and Newton North High School, then at Columbia College, and holds his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from Columbia. He also has a certificate in French Studies from the Université de Tours, as well as a Silver Medal from the Conservatoire de Versailles in France, and was named a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 1995.[23]


  1. "About the Press". Seven Stories Press.
  2. "Authors: Dan Simon". The Nation.
  3. Simon, Dan. "The Tragedy of Gary Webb". The Progressive.
  4. "Authors: Nelson Algren". Seven Stories Press.
  5. Kogan, Rick (November 2017). "Nelson Algren and Chicago's war effort in 2 new films that delve into our city's past". The Chicago Tribune.
  6. "Nelson Algren Live (2016)". IMDb.
  7. Simon, Dan (5 June 2006). "A Tribute to Octavia E. Butler" (Lecture Transcript). New York Public Library.
  8. "Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry". National Book Foundation.
  9. "Almost Complete Poems". Jewish Book Council.
  10. "Best Sellers: Paperback Nonfiction: 16 April 2017". The New York Times.
  11. "Authors: Angela Davis". Seven Stories Press.
  12. Parker, Erin. "13 Books to Educate Yourself on Antiracism, According to Black Women". Glamour.
  13. Reid, Calvin. "PW, Independent Publishers Launch #ReadIndie Campaign". Publishers Weekly.
  14. Rosen, Judith (February 2017). "Bookselling in a Time of Political Upheaval". Publishers Weekly.
  15. Simon, Dan (15 January 2021). "Who Voted for Hitler?". The Nation.
  16. Weiner, Bernard (October 30, 1994). "Abbie Hoffman From the Inside Out". San Francisco Chronicle.
  17. Bonafoux, Pascal; Simon, Dan (trans.) (1989). Van Gogh: Self Portraits. New Jersey: Wellfleet Press. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  18. Cogeval, Guy; Simon, Dan (trans.) (1986). Post-Impressionists. London: Alpine Fine Arts Collection. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  19. Purcell, Andrew (March 2006). "Kurt Vonnegut: a Requiem for the USA". Sydney Sunday Herald.
  20. "Dan Simon, Le Maspero du Bushland". Livres Hebdo (608). July 2005.
  21. Pearce, Jeremy (22 January 2005). "Morris Simon, Developer of Flexible Blood Clot Filter, Has Died at 79". The New York Times.
  22. "For freedom of the heart and mind Obituary: Barney Simon". The Guardian. July 1995.
  23. Bui, Phong (16 January 2017). "Dan Simon with Phong Bui". Brooklyn Rail.

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