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The 2016 Firecracker Award Winners

Presented by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) with the American Booksellers Association, the Firecracker Awards for independently and self-published literature are a revitalized iteration of the Firecracker Alternative Book Award originally established in 1996.

At an Awards Ceremony hosted by Poets House in New York City featuring Master of Ceremonies Dorothea Lasky (Rome), CLMP’s esteemed panel of judges were pleased to reveal the winners of the 2016 Firecracker Awards for Independent Literary Publishing in four categories:


FICTION — The Things We Don’t Do by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor & Lorenza Garcia (Open Letter Books)

About this title, Brad Johnson, bookseller and manager for Diesel Bookstore (Oakland), writes: “At a time when so much of the world is talking about the policing of borders and the construction of walls, Andrés Neuman’s playful and philosophical stories in The Things We Don’t Do are refreshing. For Neuman, there is no simple divide between one self and another; love and hate; or even life and death. We find that what occurs ‘between’ two people is not so different from what occurs within one. The Things We Don’t Do is an achievement, and an extension of the Latin American tradition blazed by the likes of Cortázar and Bolaño.”


CREATIVE NON-FICTION — The World is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse by Joni Tevis (Milkweed Editions)

Claire Kirch, Senior Correspondent for Publishers Weekly (Midwest) calls The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of the Apocalypse ‘a quirky collection of 21 essays that perfectly encapsulates not just the spirit of the Firecracker Awards but also the entire Zeitgeist. Publishers Weekly’s review perhaps sums it up best: The World Is On Fire is ‘an odd commingling of dark tourism travelogues, voyeuristic impulses, and elegiac musings on the past, present, and future,’ with Tevis taking readers from desolate railroad towns in North Dakota to Sarah Winchester’s eerie California mansion. ‘Tevis’s writing is utterly beautiful and authentically her own,’ PW declares, ‘Driven by a deep-seated need to share the images that haunt her.’”


POETRY — Garments Against Women by Anne Boyer (Ahsahta Press)

Kazim Ali, founding editor of Nightboat Books, says “Anne Boyer’s Garments Against Women is powerful, political, innovative, investigative. I’m completely compelled.” Tim Nolan, author of The Field (New Rivers Press) elaborates: “Within a framework of wry philosophical questioning, Anne Boyer gives us beautifully intense, sprawling, and always surprising prose poems on poverty, pain, happiness, unhappiness, writing poetry, not writing poetry, sewing, thrift shops, shopping, karaoke, the internet — in other words life — and the particular struggle to find poetry in the everyday. Garments Against Women is an intimate, courageous, and ultimately joyful examination of poetic inspiration in America at this exact moment.”



Director at the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY and CLMP Board Member  Clarence V. Reynolds writes: “Since 2006, A Public Space has been one of the most audacious and engaging literary magazines produced in the past decade. A blend of art and writing, from excitable and readable fiction, moving poetry, engaging features, and attention-grabbing visuals, from new and established writers, A Public Space adheres to its mission of addressing ideas and presenting works that capture and follow the various narratives and rhythms of today‘s conscious writers for today’s conscious readers.”

The 2016 Firecracker Award judges include Brad Johnson (Bookseller/Manager, Diesel Bookstore), Yiyun Li (author and contributing editor at A Public Space), and Dawn Raffel (author and former Executive Articles Editor for O, The Oprah Magazine) for Fiction; Kelly McMasters (author), Meredith Walters (Director of Programs at Brooklyn Public Library), and Claire Kirch (Midwest Correspondent at Publishers Weekly) for Nonfiction; Kazim Ali (author and founding editor of Nightboat Books), Ifeanyi Menkiti (owner of Grolier Poetry Book Shop), Tim Nolan (author), Stephanie Strickland (author), and Jonathon Welch (Talking Leaves Books) for Poetry; and Don Lee (author), Ander Monson (author and editor of Diagram), David Tomas Martinez (author and editor for Gulf Coast), Molly Rose Quinn (author and Director of Public Programming at Housing Works Bookstore), and Clarence V. Reynolds (Director at the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY) for Literary Magazine.

Browse the full list of finalists for Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Best Literary Magazine.

The Firecracker Awards are devoted to celebrating independent literary publishers of the highest literary merit. This program is made possible with special thanks to our sponsors — the American Booksellers Association, IngramSparks, and Submittable. For more information, visit: www.clmp.org/firecracker


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