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Learn About our FirstGen Program

FirstGen logo

At UC Press, we aim to publish and support bold, diverse perspectives that are representative of an inclusive spectrum of voices. This mission informs not only the scholarship we publish, but how we support the community of scholars and authors. We know that book publishing can be difficult to navigate for many scholars, and we’re dedicated to making it a more equitable process for all.

Our FirstGen Program seeks to cultivate and support the work of first-generation scholars — those who are the first in their family to receive a college degree. As we know from research and the University of California’s own FirstGen program, first-gen students often confront a range of intersecting inequalities across race, class, immigration status, and more. First-gen scholars who have gone on to attain advanced degrees and become faculty must navigate additional barriers within the academy. In our role as a non-profit, progressive press within the public UC system, we aim to extend the UC’s efforts by more effectively cultivating, publishing, and promoting the work of first-gen scholars.

Our program includes:

  • Outright grants for first-gen authors who sign with us, to be used however the author would like to best support the book publishing process (e.g. developmental editing, indexing, permissions, childcare, etc)
  • Publishing workshops and webinars to help demystify the book publishing process for first-gen scholars, and provide opportunities for community-building and networking
  • Online resources about book publishing, to enable accessible information for the first-gen scholar community
  • Data and findings from the research phase of our program, to raise awareness about the first-gen publishing experience and provide information to the academic and publishing community about how to support these scholars
  • A FirstGen Program email list to establish regular communication with first-gen scholars about relevant publishing resources, events, program updates, and to gather feedback that will improve our program and our publishing

A list of current publications in the FirstGen Scholars program can be found here.

Program FAQs

How do I apply for the FirstGen Program?

If you are a first-gen scholar with a book project that you’re interested in pitching to UC Press, please review our book proposal guidelines and then reach out to the appropriate editor in your field. As part of the proposal submission process, please self-identify as first gen (we want to minimize extra work for first-gen scholars, so no applications are necessary). If the press accepts your proposal for publication, your editor will also then connect you with additional resources and supports for our first-gen authors. Please note that financial support is limited to book projects that fit within our existing publishing program and are accepted for publication.

I’m a published first-gen UC Press author. What resources are available to me?

Any first-gen authors can access our FirstGen email list, our publishing resources for book authors, and upcoming publicly available events. Financial support for our new FirstGen initiative is aimed at helping first-gen scholars develop their book projects. We are unable to compensate our published first-gen authors in arrears, but we look forward to including your work in our future FirstGen promotions.

I am not associated with UC Press or the UC system. Can I still access your program?

Any first-gen scholar or student is welcome to join our FirstGen email list and access our publishing resources for book authors. Many of our events will also be publicly available (please see the Events section below).

How can I attend your FirstGen publishing events?

Please check the events section below for any upcoming public FirstGen Program events. We will also be posting recordings of past events under the Resources section.

Will the program provide resources for first-gen scholars publishing with academic journals?

At this time, our program is focused on book publishing. We’ve found that there tends to be less support and training when it comes to publishing manuscripts, and we are focusing our efforts on supporting first-gen scholars interested in book publishing.

How can I find out more about the FirstGen program?

Please join our FirstGen email list using the form at the bottom of this page, or send an email to If you are a current UC Press author, you can also reach out to your acquisitions editor.

Events and Video Resources

To watch webinar recordings and other videos on publishing from our staff, check out our Book Publishing 101 Youtube playlist.

Webinar: Demystifying Book Publishing for FirstGen Scholars

This webinar event featured a panel with first-gen authors about their publishing experiences, followed by a presentation and Q&A with UC Press editors about common publishing topics, such as choosing the right publisher; preparing a book proposal; how the peer review and Editorial Committee process works; revising your manuscript; and working with publishers to promote your book.

Watch now

To receive updates about upcoming program events, please join our FirstGen email list using the form at the bottom of this page.

Research Findings

Research Report: The First-Gen Scholar Publishing Experience

As part of the discovery phase of our FirstGen program, we launched a survey and conducted interviews with first-gen scholars about their book publishing experiences. This report is the official summary of our findings, including key stats, commonly cited challenges, and recommendations for better supporting these scholars through the publishing process. We hope this summary will be a useful resource for other publishers, academic institutions, and scholars in this community.

Download Report

Publishing Resources

Book Publishing 101: Resources for Authors

Interested in book publishing but not sure where to start? We've compiled a list of helpful resources for first-gen scholars and book authors about book proposals, writing, the publishing process, navigating the academy, and the first-gen experience.

Learn more

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