Joan Drury, the author, bookstore owner and publisher who supported women writers throughout her career, died Monday at a hospital in Grand Marais, Minn., the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported. She was 75.
Drury was the owner and publisher of Spinsters Ink, a lesbian feminist press founded in 1978, from 1992 until 2001. During her time as owner, the press published 36 titles. She was also the co-founder of Harmony Women's Fund, which helped fund more than
100 women's nonprofit organizations in Minnesota, and the creator of Norcroft, a writing retreat that supported women writers.
She was instrumental in creating the National Lesbian Writers Awards and was a writer herself. She published a series of mystery novels and one of them, Silent Words, won a Minnesota Book Award in 1997.
In 2002 she opened Drury Lane Books in a house dating back to 1905 that sits on the shores of Lake Superior. Since 2016 the bookstore has been managed by Gwen Danfelt.
"I love working for Joan, especially her focus on great books and understanding of excellence," Danfelt told TCPP. "We chose books we believed in. She always talked about books. The first thing she asked staff and other people was, what are you reading?
She was especially happy about the rise of diversity in books we are seeing now."
Danfelt added that it was Drury's wish that the bookstore remain open. "So, we will still be here."