Sarabande Books was founded in 1994 by Sarah Gorham and Jeffrey Skinner to publish poetry, short fiction, and essay; to disburse these works with diligence and integrity; and to serve as an educational resource for readers, students, and teachers of creative writing. First titles appeared in 1996, and the press currently has more than 220 titles under contract or in print, many of them prize-winning. Sarabande authors and staff members conduct an estimated 225 readings, workshops, and lectures per year, and they strive to make their programs and services accessible to all.

Sarabande publishes ten to twelve books each year, including selections for the Mary McCarthy prize in fiction, the Kathryn A. Morton prize in poetry, and the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. In 2016, the McCarthy prize will be judged by Stacy D'Erasmo, and the Morton will be judged by Dean Young. Sarabande authors and titles have won or been short-listed for, among many others, the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the National Jewish Book Award, LA Times Book Prize, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, Lambda Literary awards, Story Prize Spotlight award, and several PEN/American honors, including the PEN/Hemingway.