CLMP Firecracker Awards

CLMP Picks 2019 Winners for Indy Literary Publishing

June 7, 2019
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The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, CLMP, on June 6, 2019 announced the winners of the fifth annualFIRECRACKER AWARDS to a standing-room-only crowd at our awards ceremony held at Poets House in New York City. Given to recognize the importance of independent literary publishing, the FIRECRACKER AWARDS honor the best self- and independently published books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry and the best literary magazines in the categories of debut and general excellence.

Additionally, Tender Buttons press, founded by poet Lee Ann Brown in 1989, received the LORD NOSE AWARD, given in recognition of a lifetime of superlative small press publishing.

Thanks to our amazing judges, and congratulations to the finalists and the winners! Be sure to add their books and magazines to your reading list!

Firecracker Award Winners 

FICTION

Little Fish by Casey Plett
published by Arsenal Pulp Press

From the Judges

“In Little Fish, Casey Plett brings us fully into the world of her characters and lets us feel the fateful inevitability of their choices. Plett’s protagonist, Wendy, is searching for a hidden trans lineage in her own family tree. This heroic quest is at once deeply private and an enormously helpful way to think about what it means for any of us to come of age and become heroes of our own lives.”

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CREATIVE NONFICTION

The Leftovers by Shaelyn Smith

published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center

From the Judges

“With prose that encourages a kind of infectious curiosity, Smith cracks open what writing about art can mean for how we read the world around us. The Leftovers is singularly engaging and as essential to our shelves as it is to our everyday dialogue.”

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POETRY

City of the Future by Sesshu Foster published by Kaya Press

From the Judges

City of the Future forces readers to rethink poetry, postcards, and the present by asking us to reimagine how we use language but also how language is used upon us. His work is one of utmost service. On a neighborly and communitarian level, Foster’s work documents and challenges injustice.”

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MAGAZINE: BEST DEBUT

Aster(ix)

From the Judges

“This refreshing new publication is striking, inspiring, and smartly visionary. Leading the charge to nurture and publish works by artists and writers committed to social change with particular attention to works by women of color working on the margin of their discipline, Aster(ix) serves as a remarkable beacon for our times and beyond.”

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MAGAZINE: GENERAL EXCELLENCE

ZYZZYVA

From the Judges

“Inclusive, equitable, and visionary, ZYZZYVA has impressed the judges with its unfailing standards of quality, scope, and its consistent contribution to and support of a broad spectrum of literature and literary conversation. It is an outstanding and longstanding example of the vital role of literary magazines and journals in the world.”

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Firecracker Award Finalists

FICTION

CREATIVE NONFICTION

POETRY

MAGAZINE: BEST DEBUT

MAGAZINE: GENERAL EXCELLENCE

This Year’s Firecracker Judges

FICTION: Andrea Lawler (author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl), Veronica Santiago Lui (founder of Word Up Bookshop/Libreía Comunitaria), and Robert Pollock (coordinator of the Prison Writing Program at PEN America).

CREATIVE NONFICTION: Jennifer Baker (editor of Everyday People: The Color of Life–A Short Story Anthology), Jeff Deutsch (director of Seminary Co-op Bookstores), and Jyothi Natarajan (editorial director of Asian American Writers’ Workshop).

POETRY: Farrah Field (co-founder of Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop), erica kaufman (author of INSTANT CLASSIC), and Dean Rader (author of Landscape Portrait Figure Form).

MAGAZINES: Maribeth Batcha (publisher of One Story), Duriel E. Harris (editor of Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora), and Katie Raissian (publisher of Stonecutter).

About the Firecracker Awards

The CLMP Firecracker Awards for Independently Published Literature celebrate books and magazines that make a sparkling contribution to our literary culture and the publishers that strive to introduce important voices to readers far and wide.

A national publicity campaign spotlights and promotes our winning titles each year. Working with the American Booksellers Association, we feature the Firecracker Award winners through Bookselling This Week and a national Red Box Mailing that goes out to independent booksellers across the country.

Read more about the Firecracker Awards.

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