Tag Archives: Publishers Weekly

Coming to a Curbside Near You!

Curbside-splendor-Sq_LOGOIf you live in the Chicago area, you’ll soon be able to visit a brand new center of community and independent publishing, in the best form of all: a bookstore! This June, Curbside Splendor — a publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that has celebrated its Chicago roots since its inception in 2009 — is opening “Curbside Books and Records.”

The store was first announced in a Publishers Weekly article on May 24. While it will carry titles by Curbside Splendor (like Mickey, which HBO-TV/Girls star Lena Dunham recently touted in her online newsletter), it will also feature titles by indie publishers across the nation, as well as regional titles and records produced by independent labels. Curbside Splendor doesn’t produce music, but some of their titles do celebrate the rich entertainment history in Chicago, such as The Empty Bottle Chicago, which chronicles the famous venue’s 20+ year life through stories, photos, and ephemera.

Independent bookstore, independent publishers, independent labels—you may be sensing a theme here. The emphasis on independently-produced goods is entirely intentional. The goal, according to Curbside Splendor publisher Victor David Giron, is to expose people to new and exciting literature and music, to lift up voices and experiences that can get lost in chain bookstores and big business publishers.

The bookstore will be located inside a café in Revival Food Hall, a showcacover-draft-Chelsea9se for local chefs from 15 Chicago restaurants, which features communal seating and a wine bar that opens in the evenings. It’s not your average bookstore locale, and that was also an intentional choice.

“It won’t be a traditional bookstore,” Giron said. “The idea is that it’s going to fit into a larger communal space; it’s going to be part of this community center.”

Revival Food Hall is located near the famous Michigan Avenue, a commercial and cultural hotspot, as well as near several schools, including the School of the Chicago Art Institute, Columbia College, and Roosevelt University. In the future, Giron hopes to tap into the talent in MFA programs there to schedule programming and community events.

Is it July yet? We can’t wait! Congratulations, Curbside Splendor! Chicago is lucky to have you.

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Publishers Weekly Highlights the Limitless Language of NubeOcho

nubeochoWith advances in technology making it easy to communicate with people all around the world, the importance of learning a second language is often stressed young. Books are a crucial component in language learning, but where can you find good non-English-language reads that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to have shipped?

Enter NubeOcho.

On April 29, Publishers Weekly online featured six different international publishers who are bringing Spanish language books to an American market, including NubeOcho.

NubeOcho was founded in 2012 in Madrid, with an international focus from the very beginning. Their mission is to publish picture books that deal with topics relevant to kids all around the world, such as diversity, inclusion, and competitiveness. Through reading, NubeOcho believes, children can learn to navigate their way through new experiences and know that they’re never alone. As editorial director Luis Amavisca told Publishers Weekly, the “books promote respectful attitudes towards all types of diversity. . . [in] a playful medium that makes it easier to engage.”

With such universal themes, it’s only natural for NubeOcho to distribute their books internationally. Most of NubeOcho’s books are published in Spanish, but, to make them more accessible, the publisher decided to use the more common Latin American Spanish instead of Spaniard Spanish. A few of their titles are bilingual (including Princess Li/La Princesa Li), and many of them are translated into English in addition to their Spanish editions.

There’s no fear here of any of the whimsical magic of NubeOcho’s books being lost in translation. Accolades for the vibrant picture books have been rolling in from internagalinostional and U.S. trade publications. One of the most popular titles from 2016 is The Galinos (or, in Spanish, Los Galinos), the story of a group of aliens from the planet Gala who learn the consequences of taking Mother Nature for granted. The May 1 issue of School Library Journal raved that The Galinos was “an environmentally conscious and thought-provoking story.” On April 1, Kirkus Reviews highlighted another of NubeOcho’s spring 2016 titles, Carlota Wouldn’t Say Boo, saying that “the whimsical, tongue-in-cheek narration asks readers questions . . . and adds little asides . . . making readers feel the story is being told just to them.”

Transcending boundaries to reach out to one and all – isn’t that what publishing is all about? Bravo, NubeOcho!

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Akashic Books, BOA Editions, and Sarabande Books Make Publisher Weekly’s Star Watch 2015!

StarWatchGet ready to break out the confetti, because the honorees and finalists for Publisher Weekly‘s inaugural “Star Watch 2015” were announced on September 11! A huge congratulations to Peter Conners at BOA editions and Kristen Radtke at Sarabande Books for making the honoree list, and to Ibrahim Ahmad at Akashic Books for being a finalist! The program “recognizes young publishing professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry.” Star Watch was created in collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the 4o honorees—which includes four finalists and one “superstar”—were chosen from over 250 nominees and selected by a panel of judges from the Association of American Publishers, the American Booksellers Association, the Frankfurt Book fair, and industry consultant Richard Nash. As Publishers Weekly boasts, the honorees and finalists “represent every part of the book ecosystem: booksellers, designers, digital specialists, editors, and publicists. They sell and publish a variety of formats across all categories and genres, from literary fiction to romance, picture books to academic tomes, and comics to classics.” Publishers Weekly briefly highlighted the achievements of each honoree and winner, including quotes from peers.


Peter Conners. Photo credit: Ashleigh Deskins

Star Watch noted Peter Conners‘ talent for nurturing great writers and his successful fundraising pursuits among other achievements. Melissa Hall, the development director at BOA Editions, said “Peter Conners’ star has been on a meteoric rise, and his success in all aspects of American publishing deserves to be celebrated.” BOA Editions is a nonprofit press that publishes poetry and other genres, as they “foster readership and appreciation of contemporary literature.”

Kristen Radtke, the managing editor at Sarabande Books, has elevated the press in terms of visibility and sales while also “revamping” the way they design and market thsarabande-bookseir titles. Kristen Miller—director of operations and outreach at Sarabande Books—said of Radtke: “…when I hear fears about the end of books or the demise of the publishing industry, I know that as long as we have people like Kristen—with her limitless drive, her vision, her unyielding forward momentum, and lack of complacency—these fears are unfounded.” As Publishers Weekly said in their write-up, “Sarabande is a small house that is dedicated to underrepresented genres: poetry, short fiction, and essays,” and it is thanks to people like Radtke that Sarabande is so successful with these titles.


Ibrahim Ahmad

Ibrahim Ahmad of Akashic Books was named one of four finalists, because of his fearlessness in publishing innovative works and trying new things. Now the senior editor at Akashic, Ahmad started at the press as an intern. He was new in the publishing industry and relied on his instincts as a reader, a philosophy that has continued to serve him and the company well. Publisher and editor-in-chief Johnny Temple said “equally comfortable championing everything from literary writers from the Middle East to hip-hop literature… Ahmad’s tastes wholly reflect the smart eclecticism that has come to define our list.” Temple sums it up, saying that Ahmad “has indelibly shaped Akashic Books into the thriving press it is today.”

Star Watch is a fresh program that celebrates the achievements of the tireless individuals behind important presses. The 40 honorees and finalists were honored in New York City at a party on September 16, and the “superstar” Helen Yentus—art director at New York City’s Riverhead Books—will be going on an all expenses paid trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Congratulations to all!


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Torrey House Press Talks with Publishers Weekly About Becoming a Nonprofit

Kristen Johanna Allen and Mark Bailey. Photo Credit: Publishers Weekly

Kristen Johanna Allen and Mark Bailey. Photo Credit: Publishers Weekly

Think about the last time an environmental title made a top seller list or was recommended as “the next best thing” by a friend. Chances are, those instances are few and far between. Torrey House Press in Utah, however, is striving to change this lack of recognition. Since its conception in 2010, Torrey House Press has been publishing titles that promote environmental activism through fiction and nonfiction, and in September, Torrey House Press is becoming a nonprofit so that they can focus on their mission and develop stronger bonds with the Utah literary scene and conservation groups.  Mark Bailey and Kirsten Johanna Allen, the founders of the press, sat down with Anisse Gross for Publishers Weekly on August 28, 2015 to discuss the shift to nonprofit.

The decision to become a nonprofit started with Bailey and Allen realizing that because of their specific niche of environmental and conservation titles, they were “in a no-man’s-land between having commercial success and success in conservation,” according to Bailey. Allen said that when the couple started the press, they didn’t fully grasp “how difficult publishing is,” learning through trial and error. As a nonprofit, they can expand their network and relationships with conservation, environmental, and literary groups. They have plans to partner with some of the major literary and environmental players in Utah, “with the goal of creating the strong literary ecosystem” that Bailey and Allen feel Utah needs. They also hope to provide a paid internship to engage with local students.

Now that Torrey HHowl cover final 8-12.inddouse Press is a nonprofit, opportunities for grants and funding have opened up, which allows them to expand their influence in the literary and conservation realms. Literature – both fiction and nonfiction – has a tremendous power and influence in terms of social change, something Allen and Bailey are acutely aware of. For example, one of their upcoming titles, Howl: Of Woman and Wolf by Susan Bird (October 2015) explores our relationship to wolves and nature while highlighting important issues in conservation. This is just one example of how Torrey House Press’ titles engage readers with compelling and thought-provoking stories.

Bailey and Allen are also focusing on the big picture in terms of social justice and change, looking towards the future for ways that Torrey House Press can have a major impact. Allen’s goal is “to be the publishing arm of conservation,” releasing climate-change fiction (“cli-fi”), literary fiction, and creative nonfiction that entertain and educate. Their new tagline is “conservation through literature,” and it will be exciting to see how the small press will continue to evolve and contribute to the expanding genre of environmental literature.

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Danish Author Naja Marie Aidt is Getting Lots of U.S. Love

Photo courtesy of www.arnoldbusck.dk

Naja Marie Aidt, photo courtesy of ArnoldBusck

Naja Marie Aidt is one of Denmark’s most famous authors. Her poetry and short stories have won numerous prizes, including the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize and the Danish Critics Prize for Literature. With the forthcoming novel Rock, Paper, Scissors, to be released by Open Letter Books in August 2015, Aidt’s enticing and intricate work is bridging the gap to American English readers. Translated by K.E. Semmel, Rock, Paper, Scissors has already started wooing the media masses.

Book Riot included Rock, Paper, Scissors on their “6 Small Press Books to Read in August,” and Publishers Weekly featured the title on their list “PW Picks: Books of the Week, August 10, 2015,” each singing the praises of Aidt and her new work. Publishers Weekly eloquently summed up the novel’s themes and why it is notable: “Laced with sex, marital problems, family drama, and money woes, Aidt’s supremely cultivated novel is concerned with the struggle to connect with those we truly love and the consequences of remaining distant.”RockPaperScissors

Publishers Weekly also featured Naja Marie Aidt on their “10 Best Novels by Poets” series, where Aidt listed her favorite novels and her values in terms of good writing. In the interview, Aidt talked about what she looks for in a good book and also what she values in her own writing: “A good plot or great story is not enough for me. I need the language to be precise, sensual, intense, and distinctive.” In terms of her own work, she draws creative energy from shifting from poetry to prose and different forms of writing, as the challenge of shifting from separate genres allows her to grow and develop as a writer. The maturity and curiosity to explore different forms of language is clearly seen in Rock, Paper, Scissors. Once again, Publishers Weekly accurately summed it up: “Aidt writes with verve, passion, and a sharp edge,” creating work that is equally thought-provoking and entertaining.

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