Tag Archives: Chris Fischbach

Coffee House Press’s Innovation Sparks MPR News Conversation


Chris Fischbach. Photo courtesy of Coffee House Press

Amidst cries that publishing is a dying industry, small houses like Coffee House Press are searching for new ways to evolve and grow in the changing field. Specifically, Coffee House Press is illustrating that publishing is in fact not dying, and can, in fact, be a powerful tool. On September 2, 2015, Euan Kerr for MPR News talked with publisher Chris Fischbach of Coffee House Press about the press’ new endeavors and how they are “shaking up publishing” with innovative programming and a new imprint.

Coffee House Press is a small non-profit and independent press that releases roughly 18 titles per year, ranging from fiction to poetry. As Fischbach said in the interview, they “connect readers and writers,” using publishing as a tool to promote the arts while also constantly searching for “different kinds of programming” to increase readership and promote authors works. For example, they developed a residency program called In The Stacks that places writers in various locations – such as libraries – to engage with their readers and create innovative work. Coffee House Press was also recently involved in the Walker Art Center’s annual Internet Cat Video Festival, wooing the crowds with the new title Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong. Fischbach said that the press strives to release books and create different programs that merge disciplines and “cross boundaries of race, culture, [and] form.”


Photo courtesy of Coffee House Press

One of Coffee House’s new ventures comes in the form of creating an imprint in partnership with Emily Brooks, a “feminist publishing project” located in Brooklyn. In a statement about the partnership, Coffee House Press explained that Emily Brooks is a “hybrid book club/bookstore/publisher” that delivers a handpicked books to subscribers once a month. As Fischbach said in the interview, both publishing entities are striving to create original works that “speak to the aesthetic excellence, experimental boldness, and social concerns of both organizations.” Coffee House Press refuses to listen when people say publishing is dying, instead focusing on pushing the boundaries of the industry to create something fresh and exciting.

If you want to connect with Coffee House Press in person and give them your support, be sure to stop by Housequake on September 21, 2015 at the Fulton Tap room, where they will be celebrating their fall releases as well as Chris Fischbach’s twenty years with Coffee House and his rise from intern to publisher.



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Coffee House Press and the American Swedish Institute Create the Laureate Lounge

How did the likes of  Rabindrinath Tagore, Toni Morrisson, and Alice Munro function in life as they were creating masterpieces that propelled them toward Nobel Laureate awards? What were their habits? Were they normal? Coffee House Press‘s own Chris Fischbach has been asking those sorts of questions as he collaborates with  independent curator Sarah Schultz for the Laureate Lounge—a project of the American Swedish Institute.laureate_lounge

On May 6, Minneapolis online literary community Hazel & Wren completed part 1 of a 2-part interview with Fischbach and Schultz. They chatted about the details of the Laureate Lounge— “an inventive space inspired by the real and imagined habits of Nobel Laureates,” and selecting four brilliant writers (Rachel Jendrzejewski, Janaki Ranpura, Sun Yung Shin, and Andy Sturdevant) to create writing exercises for visitors to the Lounge.

Chris Fischbach

Chris Fischbach, Publisher of Coffee House Press

In the words of Hazel & Wren, “Arts organizations are moving from traditional (and sometimes elitist) modes of art presentation to more collaborative, grass-roots, and innovative ways of engagement. One of the organizations I admire that is addressing this shift in a very successful and intriguing way is Coffee House Press.”

The interview honed in on why Fischbach (and Coffee House Press) is involved with so many community events. They’re a publisher after all, not an event sponsor. Fisbach’s intention is to show that “literature is something that can be experienced in ways other than just reading. That reading isn’t necessarily a passive experience, but that it’s always participatory—this exhibit enacts that literally.”

As Coffee House Press continues to publish incredible literature, the independent house is also intentionally creating programming that, in Fischbach’s words, “connects writers and readers. It’s about creating different kinds of spaces for both writers and readers to encounter, enact, absorb, create literature. To demystify it.” coffeehouselogoWith projects like the Laureate Lounge, Coffee House Press continues to innovate the idea of what publishing means—starting a conversation around the books.

The Laureate Lounge runs through May 24.

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