Monthly Archives: October 2015

Celebrate Halloween With Spooky Reads + Meet ChiZine Publications!

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a spooky book? We’ve pulled together a list of five titles that are perfect for the holiday! Plus, we’re proud to introduce one of our new publishers, ChiZine Publications, experts at publishing all things creepy. With titles from Coffee House Press, Manic D Press, Centipede Press, Feral House, and Flying Eye Books, you’ll find something thrilling to dive into this weekend.

UprightBeastsFirst up, we have Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel and published by Coffee House Press. The short stories contained in this collection are dark and absurd, and will make you think about accidental murder, bestial transformation, and more.

If you’re looking for something more tame for younger readers, c43Monstersheck out 43 Monsters by Arthur Bradford and Chuck Webster from Manic D Press, a quirky and colorful illustrated book that introduces readers to some pretty lovable monsters.

WeirdFictionReviewNext, we suggest Weird Fiction Review #5 from Centipede Press, the newest installment in this yearly journal dedicated to weird and supernatural fiction, featuring original stories and essays that will keep you awake all night for Halloween.

Neighbors from Hell by Jan Frel and John Dolan and published by FerNeighborsFromHellal House features real-life monsters living in America, your neighbors. It’s a children’s book for adults, with playful rhymes providing an informed perspective on social and economic issues we have all experienced.

Finally, ImImeldaelda & the Goblin King from Flying Eye Books/Nobrow will soothe you with beautiful illustrations as you follow Imelda the fairy through the dark forest to battle the Goblin King, all to return the Fairy Queen to safety.

After you’ve read these titles, check out ChiZine Publications, one of our new publisChiZinehers! We are happy to welcome them to Consortium and look forward to adding them to our “dark fiction” roster. They certainly know what they’re doing— in 2014 they won The Horror Writers Association Specialty Press Award! Check out the National Post‘s profile on ChiZine and their website to learn more.


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Open Letter Books’ Chad Post Expounds on Translation with Poets & Writers


Chad Post. Photo courtesy of University of Rochester.

Contemporary literature in translation—not just translations of Tolstoy—makes up less than three percent of all books published in the U.S. This is a sad statement, especially when you think about all the great stories you could be missing out on. Chad Post and his press Open Letter Books are striving to change this. By focusing on literature in translation and community outreach programs, Post and Open Letter Books are shaking up the translating game by increasing awareness and building a community— and hopefully increasing that three percent.

Recently, Post appeared on a roundtable discussion with Jeremiah Chamberlin for Poets & Writers and colleagues at other presses to discuss the state of translations in publishing. Post transitioned into publishing from a career in bookselling because he wanted to have a hand in deciding which books are actually produced, which led to the creation of Open Letter Books in 2008. The press is a component of University of Rochester which allows Post and the press more freedom in terms of educational and community outreach programs. Post is grateful for these projects: “I think the things that define our organization, and the reasons I’m still in publishing—which can be grueling… are all the ancillary things we do for readers.”

These programs include the Three Percent blog, which is dedicated to bringing readers and translated works together, the “Best Translated Book Award” which Post started in 2007, the creation of a Translation Database, and a translation guidebook, The 100 Best International Books of the Century (So Far), which Post is compiling to provide a “snapshot of what’s being written now all over the world” according to Post’s article that appeared in the Frankfurt Show Daily for the Frankfurt Book Fair. All of these projects—and the many others that Post has in the works—strive to change “look how little is translated into English” into “look at all these great books available to readers.”OpenLetterBooks

In the round-table discussion, Post agreed that one of the most important aspects of publishing, especially for small, non-profit translation presses, is to create a community around discussions of books. Ranging from informal twitter conversations to highbrow literary discussions and book clubs to mainstream reviews, Post endorses it all: “what’s most important, in my opinion, is getting people who aren’t writers or publishing people talking about books.”

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Huffington Post Profiles Adam Parfrey and Feral House’s Edgy Persona

Ferel House publisher Adam Parfrey in Port Townsend, WA.

Feral House publisher Adam Parfrey in Port Townsend, WA. Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Feral House and its creator Adam Parfrey have marched to the beat of their own subversive drum since the very beginning. Since 1989, Feral House has successfully made a niche for themselves through publishing “high quality books on forbidden topics,” as they proclaim on their website. They are well-known for publishing controversial materials that many mainstream bookstores refuse to sell. On October 13, Michael Nirenberg for Huffington Post released part one of his two-part interview with Adam Parfrey, where they discussed the press and its specific market.


Parfrey started out writing articles for magazines. His first foray into publishing was with Amok Press, a venture Parfrey started with his friend Ken Swezey, who ran Amok Catalog. The duo’s first book, Michael by Joseph Goebbels, was a pro-Russia book with touches of early Nazism.The title received a glowing review from the New York Times, the first and last major review one of Parfrey’s titles would receive for many years: “No other book, until like 25 or 30 years later, got a favorable write-up in the New York Times.” Feral House’s lack of success and appreciation from the mainstream market does not bother Parfrey: “I’m not in it to make money—it’s the wrong business for that.”

Though many mainstream bookstores want benign titles, Feral House refuses to giWhyHopeve in. Part of the reason why they are so successful is because of Parfrey’s adamant stance on what the press publishes: “We don’t do fiction… Poetry, we don’t do. We don’t do books with short stories.” Instead, they only publish non-fiction titles, creating an eclectic catalog that does not stray away from controversial topics. For example, one of their recent titles Why Hope? The Stand Against Civilization by the eco-anarchist John Zerzan is a provocative slam against technology.

Adam Parfrey and Feral House teach us an important lesson: lack of mainstream success doesn’t equal failure. Unconcerned with awards and accolades, Parfrey publishes books he believes in, a business plan that has clearly worked for the tenacious Feral House.


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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Hispabooks, NubeOcho, Cinco Puntos, and Curbside Splendor!

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15), we’ve gathered together four titles that celebrate Hispanic and Spanish cultures. Check out these titles from Hispabooks Publishing, NubeOcho, Cinco Puntos, and Curbside Splendor to celebrate with some great reads!

The firstAugustOctober title we recommend is August, October, by Andrés Barba and translated by Lisa Dillman. Published by Hispabooks, a Madrid-based press that specializes in publishing contemporary Spanish fiction in English translation, August, October is a coming-of-age-tale, with the adolescent narrator struggling to reconcile himself to a world involving death and sexuality.

The next title CarlotaWoudn'tSayBoois from NubeOcho, another press based in Madrid that specializes in picture books and children’s fiction that promote respectful attitudes towards diversity. Published both in Spanish and in the English translation, Carlota Wouldn’t Say Boo by Emilio Urberuaga and José Carlos Andrés is a sweet and charming story about overcoming shyness and learning to speak up for yourself.

Our title from Texas-based Cinco Puntos is Sofrito Sofrito, by Phillippe Diederich. In this debut novel, Frank, a Cuban-American who disregards his family’s Cuban past, feels lost until he makes the decision to travel back to Cuba to steal a top-secret recipe that will save his failing restaurant in New York. Along the way, he falls in love with a prostitute and Cuba, and comes to terms with his father and his family’s roots. You’ll enjoy this entertaining and poignant work.

Last, but notMozos least, is Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain by Bill Hillmann and published by Curbside Splendor in Chicago, Illinois. In this memoir, Hillmann recalls his decade spent running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It is equal parts entertaining, wise, funny, and philosophical. By the end, you’ll either want to go run with the bulls, or choose to live vicariously through Hillmann.


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BOA Editions Celebrates 40 Years!

Huge congratulations BOA_40th_Logoare in order: BOA Editions is turning 40 in 2016! Based in Rochester, New York, BOA has become a leading non-profit and independent publisher of poetry, literary fiction, and poetry-in-translation. Founded in 1976 “to give voice to important, yet underserved writers,” the press now has over 300 titles in their catalog and is one of the nation’s premier independent presses.

To celebrate BOA’s 40 years, the press has planned a year-long celebration, including being the Presenting Sponsor for the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles, where they have many fun things planned including on-site readings and a reception to celebrate the 40 year anniversary.


BOA Editions’ Staff and Board. William J. Ingalls. © 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Peter Conners, publisher at BOA, was recently recognized in Publisher’s Weekly Star Watch because of his innovation and dedication, a timely honor to match BOA’s 40th celebration. Thanks to a dollar-for-dollar challenge grant from the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, BOA is kicking of “40 for 40,” in which $40,000 will be used to celebrate BOA’s 40 years in the industry, while another $40,000 will be provided to ensure the press’ financial stability for the next 40 years. In addition, the University of Rochester has acquired the press’ archives from 2006-2016, creating the “largest repository of BOA materials.” Conners said that given BOA’s place in “Rochester’s cultural history” and the University of Rochester’s “status as a venerable institution of higher learning,” he couldn’t be happier with the partnership.

As icing on the cake, many of BOA’s titles and authors have recently won prestigious awards. The poetry collection The End of Pink by Kathryn Nurenberger was chosen for the 2015 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the work of psychological fiction  Bridge by Robert Thomas won the 2015 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction.

Conners summed up BOA’s exciting milestone: “We will celebrate BOA’s past, work to ensure its future, and celebrate the artistic and communicative power of the written word.”

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Biblioasis Scores Giller Shortlist and The Globe and Mail Notes a Legacy


Biblioasis staff and Dan Wells, fourth from the right. Photo Credit: Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail.

With a name and logo steeped in clever allusions and literary tradition, Biblioasis is taking the publishing world by storm. On October 2, Mark Medley for The Globe and Mail took a look at the Windsor, Ontario based press and chatted with founder Dan Wells about the press’ roots and future prospects, and highlighted that two of Biblioasis’ titles (Martin John by Anakana Schofield and Arivda by Samuel Archibald) are on the shortlist for the prestigious Giller Prize!

Biblioasis has previously had titles on the longlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, but this year two of their titles were selected as finalists for the Giller Prize. While Dan Wells is trying not to concentrate too hard on the outcome, the Giller Prize is a huge deal: it is the Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. The Giller Prize awards $100,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The winner will be announced on November 10.

Biblioasis first opened as a bookstore in 1998 after Wells bought up “a giant room of books… chock full of first editions” at an auction house in Ontario. Wells discovered he was extremely successful as a bookseller, and after acquiring the talents of editor, critic, and author John Metcalf and publishing veteran Dennis Priebe, Biblioasis the press was born.

In Wells’ days before publishing, he worked as a welder, where he received the nickname “Panic.” While this doesn’t seem like a great characteristic for someone working with hot metal, Wells’ dislike for big events and award ceremonies works to his advantage as a publisher: instead of focusing solely on awards (like those Giller finalists) he actively supports all of his authors and strives to uphold the press’ mission to “publish unabashed literary fiction (with an emphasis on short stories), discover untapped talent, rescue lost or forgotten books, and introduce North American readers to the work of authors around the world.” Kathy Page, a Biblioasis author who was longlisted for the Giller Prize in 2014 for Paradise and Elsewhere, summed up Wells’ attitude: “there’s a certain spunky, devil-may-care attitude to the wide world.”



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School Library Journal Discovers Claudia Zoe Bedrick’s Process with Enchanted Lion

EnchantedLionBooksEnchanted Lion Books has been captivating readers with diverse and entertaining titles since their start in 2003. The mastermind behind the press’ success is Claudia Zoe Bedrick, creator and publisher of the press. She has an astute perspective on the publishing industry and a worldly outlook in terms of the titles she publishes, bringing Japanese aesthetics, German stories, and Danish styles (to name a few) to readers across the country. On September 29, 2015, Travis Jonker for “100 Scope Notes” on School Library Journal interviewed Bedrick about Enchanted Lion’s upcoming fall/winter releases. Not only does the interview provide an exciting preview for the press’ 12 title season, it also illuminates just how intelligent and thoughtful Bedrick is when it comes to calling the shots for such creative projects.

The first title Jonker anWherestheBaboond Bedrick discussed—Where’s The Baboon by Michaël Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo—almost didn’t happen, as it fell onto Bedrick’s lap at the very last moment when she already had eleven titles planned for the season. After producing Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings, Bedrick said she was ready for a break, to “not think about a book.” However, Kris Di Giacomo approached Bedrick with the idea for Where’s the Baboon,” emailing from France to pitch the companion novel to the previously published Take Away the A. Bedrick had her doubts about how they could get the title done in the short amount of time that they had, but Giacomo was confident. Bedrick explained that outside of the U.S., illustrators tend to work faster: “if they are to work solely as an illustrator, they have to be delivering regularly, they have to be doing books in three months.” Whereas illustrators in the U.S. can take a year or two to create a book because of higher advances, illustrators outside of the U.S. do not have that luxury. However, this does not mean that the work they produce is anything less than stellar: “it doesn’t mean they’re sloppy or doing shoddy work, obviously, it just means they’re very adept at moving through the process.”

So in just three months, Where’s the Baboon was created. The quicker pace also ensured that Take Away the A and Where’s the Baboon could interact with each other: “it made sense not to let too much time-lapse between the two books. So they could play off each other and be in the classroom at the same time.” Though Bedrick could have passed on this second “language game book” because of its last-minute conception, her recognition of the different paces in creation around the world and belief in Giacomo paid off.

IntotheSnow - Copy

Into the Snow

On the other end of the spectrum, Into the Snow by Masamitsu Saito and Yuki Kaneko was a long time in the making. Bedrick fell in love with Saito’s work when she published the translation of Beach Feet in 2012. She contacted Saito through his translator Kaneko—who wrote the text for Into the Snow—and asked him to do a book directly with Enchanted Lion. In the interview, Bedrick said that the book could have come out years ago, but Saito’s “work style is to do with sensory research during the proper season in which the book is set.” Because Into the Snow is about—obviously—snow, Saito had to “catch the season.” He did not finish all of his research before the seasons changed, so he had to wait until the next winter to complete the book. While this might seem overly intense to quick-paced Americans, this work style is very much in line with the Japanese notion of onomatopoeia, as Bedrick explained: “Japanese books for young children often have a lot of onomatopoeia—they’re told from the first-person point of view and they are about the child’s experience and perceptions of being in the world. The onomatopoeia often connects to that feeling of being in the world… [Masamitsu had] to take it all in and find that place of wonder.”

Bedrick knows her stuff and puts her trust in the right people, producing titles that are distinct and simply beautiful. She summed up her attention to detail: “I wouldn’t be looking to put a book in children’s hands if it wasn’t worth their time. […] They can be looking at our world and having an amazing experience, they don’t need to be looking at a mediocre book.” Bedrick’s committment to and passion for the art of creating quality books is obvious when she talks about her work and is a main reason why Enchanted Lion Books has been so successful. Check out the full interview to preview Enchanted Lion’s other upcoming titles!


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