Announcing the 2020 Firecracker Award Winners & Lord Nose Award Winner

June 30, 2020 (New York, NY)—The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), the national nonprofit organization that for more than 50 years has supported the work of independent literary publishers, has announced the winners of its sixth annual FIRECRACKER AWARDS, given for the best independently published books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry and the best literary magazines in the categories of debut and general excellence.

CLMP has also announced the recipient of the fourth annual LORD NOSE AWARD, given in memory of Jonathan Williams, publisher of the legendary literary press The Jargon Society, and in recognition of a lifetime of superlative small press publishing. This year’s LORD NOSE AWARD recipient is W. Paul Coates of Black Classic Press.

“I’ve never sought or did things for awards. I’ve been known to go the other way when folks start talking about awards,” said Coates about receiving the Lord Nose Award. “This is a bit different in the sense that it’s a peer-based award from people who know my work and that humbles and honors me. And it places me in the fine company of other independents who have been honored before me, like Cinco Puntos Press and Tender Buttons.”


FICTION: They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears by Johannes Anyuru, translated by Saskia Vogel, published by Two Lines Press

From the Judges
“This exceptional novel defies categorization and investigates the many facets of terror and xenophobia through the story of a radicalized young woman.”

Johannes Anyuru is a poet, novelist, and playwright. He has published numerous books, including the novel ​A Storm Blew in from Paradise​ (World Editions, 2019). In 2017, he was awarded the August Prize for Best Fiction Book of the Year. Anyuru’s work has been likened to a mix between Nobel Laureate Thomas Tranströmer and a hip-hop MC.

Translator Saskia Vogel’s​ translations include work by leading female authors, such as Katrine Marçal, Carolina Ramqvist, and the modernist eroticist Rut Hillarp. Vogel’s debut novel, Permission​ (Coach House Books), was published in 2019.

Two Lines Press exists to give American readers the opportunity to read some of the great work from outside our borders that they would not otherwise get to see. As the barriers between cultures continue to come down and more and more authors are finding inspiration in foreign lands, there’s all the more reason for us to read the world.


CREATIVE NONFICTION: throughsmoke by Jehanne Dubrow, published by New Rivers Press

From the Judges:
“With a particular focus on fragrances, Dubrow follows her nose into the terrain of memory, but also into the relationship of scent to grief and desire, and how these emotions might be felt, understood, and smelled.”

Jehanne Dubrow​ is the author of six poetry collections, including most recently ​Dots & Dashes (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, 2017), ​The Arranged Marriage​ (Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series, 2015), and ​Red Army Red (​ Triquarterly, 2012). She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.

New Rivers Press​ maintains a dual mission: to connect the best new and emerging writers and storytellers from across Minnesota and the world with eager audiences and to provide hands-on learning opportunities at Minnesota State University Moorhead for students interested in entering the publishing world after graduation.


POETRY (co-winner): Motion Studies ​by Jena Osman, published by Ugly Duckling Presse

From the Judges:
“Jena Osman’s ​Motion Studies​ defies categorization, combining science writing, dystopian (science) fiction, popular journalism, critical theory, and lyricism.”

Jena Osman’sbooks of poems include ​Corporate Relations​ (Burning Deck, 2014), ​Public Figures​ (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), ​The Network​ (Fence Books, National Poetry Series selection, 2010), and others. She cofounded and coedited the literary magazine ​Chain​ with Juliana Spahr from 1994-2005.

Ugly Duckling Presse​ is a nonprofit publisher for poetry, translation, experimental nonfiction, performance texts, and books by artists. UDP favors emerging, international, and “forgotten” writers, and its books, chapbooks, artists books, broadsides, and periodicals often contain handmade elements, calling attention to the labor and history of bookmaking.


POETRY (co-winner): Personal Volcano​ by Laura Moriarty, published by Nightboat Books

From the Judges:
Personal Volcano​ is a tension between the ‘social’ and the ‘deep ecological’—encompassing of something larger and more powerful than the anthropocentric could ever admit.”

Laura Moriarty’sbooks include ​A Tonalist​ (Nightboat Books, 2010), ​A Semblance: Selected and New Poems, 1975-2007​ (Omnidawn, 2007), ​Ultraviolet​ (Atelos, 2006), and others. In addition to having taught at Naropa University and Mills College, she was the deputy director of Small Press Distribution.

Nightboat Books​ seeks to develop audiences for writers whose work resists convention and transcends boundaries by publishing books rich with poignancy, intelligence, and risk.


MAGAZINES: BEST DEBUT: Porter House Review

From the Judges:
Porter House Review​ publishes well-crafted prose and verse that is attentive to form and captivating. The journal demonstrates inclusivity, publishing works by writers from a wide range of backgrounds and exploring expansive themes.”

Porter House Review​ is an online literary journal produced in conjunction with Texas State University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Inspired by the legacy of Katherine Anne Porter, the journal seeks to publish bold and incisive writing that interrogates not only the complexities of the human experience, but also the prevailing social challenges of our time.



From the Judges:
“With a mission to ‘celebrate the art of translation,’ ​Two Lines Journal​ highlights the exceptional work of both writers and translators, offering Anglophone readers a rare chance to connect with stories and ideas across cultures.”

Two Lines Journal​, published in conjunction with Two Lines Press, ​exists to give American readers the opportunity to read some of the great work from outside our borders that they would not otherwise get to see. As the barriers between cultures continue to come down and more and more authors are finding inspiration in foreign lands, there’s all the more reason for us to read the world.

This year’s Firecracker Award judges were, in fiction, Bonnie Chau (All Roads Lead to Blood), Melanie Fleishman (The Center for Fiction), Alex Gilvarry (Eastman Was Here); in creative nonfiction, Lacy M. Johnson (The Reckonings: Essays), Douglas A. Martin (Acker), Cristina Rodriguez (Deep Vellum Books); in poetry, Thom Donovan (Withdrawn), Celina Su (Landia), Simone White (Dear Angel of Death); and in the magazine categories, Laura Cogan (Zyzzyva), Ruben Quesada (AGNI), Alexandra Watson (Apogee Journal).

Read more about the Firecracker Awards and this year’s finalists.

2020 Lord Nose Award

RECIPIENT: W. Paul Coates & Black Classic Press

Black Classic Press LogoSince it was founded in 1978 by W. Paul Coates, Black Classic Press has specialized in republishing obscure and significant works by and about people of African descent. Black Classic Press has issued more than 135 titles and is still going strong, with four titles forthcoming in 2020 and 2021, plus twelve more books acquired from The Majority Press. Its best-selling titles include important classics, 100 Years of Lynching by Ralph Ginsburg, Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun by Reginald F. Lewis, Black Man of the Nile by Yosef Ben-Jochannon, When We Ruled by Robin Walker and Seize the Time by Bobby Seale.

Coates is a graduate of Atlanta University’s School of Library and Information Studies (1980) and SDC/Antioch University (1979). The coeditor of ​Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History​ (Howard University Press, 1990), Coates is an active Black bibliophile and collector of cultural artifacts. As a former African American Studies reference and acquisition librarian at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Coates was responsible for collection development of African American books and related materials. His responsibilities included the selection and purchase of rare and non-rare items. In addition, he served as adjunct instructor of African American Studies at Sojourner-Douglass College, Baltimore, MD. He formerly owned and operated The Black Book (1972-1978), a Baltimore-based bookstore.

The Lord Nose Award was established in 2017 by David Wilk, with support from Jeffery Beam and Tom Meyer. There is no application process; honorees are chosen based on their work and accomplishments.

Read more about W. Paul Coates & Black Classic Press, and the Lord Nose Award.




For press inquiries contact Mary Gannon at [email protected]