Announcing the Winners of the 2024 Firecracker Awards and Lord Nose Award

New York, NY (June 27, 2024)—The Community of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP), the national nonprofit organization that for 57 years has supported the work of independent literary publishers, has announced the winners of its tenth 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. Each winner in the book categories receives $2,000—$1,000 for the press and $1,000 for the author—and each winner in the magazine categories receives $1,000. The winners were announced during a virtual ceremony held on June 27, 2024, during which CLMP also presented the 2024 Lord Nose Award, given in recognition of a lifetime of superlative work in literary publishing.


2024 Firecracker Awards Winners

FICTION: You Were Watching from the Sand by Juliana Lamy, published by Red Hen Press

The cover of You Were Watching from the Sand by Juliana Lamy, featuring an abstract, tropical forest scene. From the Judges:

“Juliana Lamy’s You Were Watching from the Sand is a commanding debut that mingles the magical with the mundane. These vibrant, masterfully wrought stories weave the otherworldly into the psychological and interpersonal, grounding Lamy’s characters not only in their unique voices, corporealities, and sense of place, but also in the complex racial and class dynamics that determine their lives. The language in this collection crackles with a propulsive energy, and there’s not a weak story to be found. Lamy’s impressive range is on full display; this is likely just the beginning of what looks to be a thrilling literary career.”

Juliana Lamy is the author of You Were Watching from the Sand. She received a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard College, where she won the Harvard University Le Baron Russell Briggs Undergraduate Fiction Prize and the Gordon Parks Essay Prize for Nonfiction. Lamy also received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She currently lives in South Florida, where she was raised after immigrating with her family from Haiti.

Red Hen Press, founded in 1994 and based in Los Angeles, California, is a nonprofit independent literary press that publishes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The press seeks to build a community of readers and writers who are actively engaged in the essential human practice known as literature.


CREATIVE NONFICTION: The Quickening: Antarctica, Motherhood, and Cultivating Hope in a Warming World by Elizabeth Rush, published by Milkweed Editions

The cover of The Quickening by Elizabeth Rush, featuring colorful icebergs. From the Judges:

The Quickening is an excellent chronicle of the deteriorating Antarctic glaciers at a critical crossroads with the author’s own reckoning with the ethics of bringing new life into a rapidly changing world. An incredible journey and an essential antidote to the settler masculinist-explorer narrative, The Quickening offers readers a chance to collectively refuse turning Antarctica into a passive symbol of the coming apocalypse. This is an inspiring document of an expedition powered by a deep understanding of the consequences that lie ahead and invites us, her readers, to turn and embrace hope.”

Elizabeth Rush is the author of The Quickening: Antarctica, Motherhood, and Cultivating Hope in a Warming World and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore (Milkweed Editions, 2019), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Rush’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications from the New York Times to Orion Magazine and Guernica. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Howard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Metcalf Institute. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where she teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.

Milkweed Editions, founded in 1980 and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a nonprofit independent publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The press’s mission is to identify, nurture, and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it.


POETRY: The Limitless Heart by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, published by Haymarket Books

The cover of The Limitless Heart by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, featuring a Black woman wearing a red dress, seated and holding an open book.From the Judges:

“The sublime and evocative work of Boyce-Taylor is beautifully presented in this collection of new and previously published work. With expansive and intimate vision, Boyce-Taylor grapples with longing, grief, displacement, and motherhood among many other timely and engaging themes. Whether she is reminiscing about the sensuous surroundings of her homeland or mourning the loss of her beloved son, the poems are always lyrical, vivid, each piece imbued with powerful affirmation and profound abundance. This collection is an astonishing achievement and beautiful gathering of a life’s work.”

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor is a poet and teaching artist, whose poetry collections include The Limitless Heart; Mama Phife Represents (Haymarket Books, 2021), recipient of the 2022 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, given by The Publishing Triangle; Arrival (Northwestern University Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize; Convincing the Body (Vintage Entity Press, 2005); Raw Air (Fly By Night Press, 2000), and Night When Moon Follows (Long Shot Productions, 2000). She earned an MFA from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine and an MSW from Fordham University. The founder and curator of Calypso Muse and the Glitter Pomegranate Performance Series, Boyce-Taylor has led workshops for Cave Canem, Poets & Writers, and the Caribbean Literary and Cultural Center. She is a VONA fellow and the recipient of the 2015 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, given by Poets & Writers. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Haymarket Books, founded in 2001 and based in Chicago, Illinois, is an independent publisher of books that contribute to struggles for social and economic justice. The press strives to make its books a vibrant and organic part of social movements and the education and development of a critical, engaged, and internationalist left.



Cover of SWING volume 1, issue 1, featuring a black drawing of a raven's head on a yellow background.From the Judges:

SWING has made a bold outing as a journal that gathers evocative, fine-tuned writing from the South and beyond. The debut issue is characterized by musical, deftly-formed poems, stories that conjure rich psychological and physical landscapes, and essays that embrace contradiction and irresolution. The editors’ thoughtful, and sometimes sly, juxtapositions of pieces made the journal a delight to read, and one where questions of place, family, change, and uncertainty ripple through its pages. The journal drew us in with the clear and crisp design of its print volume and website, as well as its welcoming tone and ethos. SWING is a journal to read from front to back, and a testament to the literary community that its publisher, The Porch, has built in Nashville for years.”

SWING, founded in 2023, is a magazine published by the nonprofit literary collective The Porch in Nashville, Tennessee. SWING strives to be a print magazine with the energy and verve of its home city where new influences course through the old. The magazine is a home for the emerging writer to the renowned, from the discovered to the too-long neglected, that aims to publish creative works of all genres and hybrids that embrace complication.



The Words Without Borders logo, including "WB" in white lettering on a black background.From the Judges:

Words Without Borders (WWB) is a rare literary and cultural space where one can encounter writing from over 140 countries. The work WWB publishes reflects a radically capacious, global vision of literature, as well as an unstinting commitment to the art of translation and the precise, dedicated work of translators. The publication’s mission of making the world’s literature accessible to wider audiences is evident in its thoughtful curation of literature by country, theme, and contributor; its packages designed for the classroom; and the strong suite of accessibility tools on its website. Publishing translations can be complex and delicate work, and WWB has set the bar high with its steady output of compelling, politically trenchant, and varied work.”

Words Without Borders, founded in 2003, is a digital magazine dedicated to cultivating global awareness by expanding access to international writing and creating a bridge between readers, writers, and translators. Driven by the belief that reading literature can lead to empathy and understanding, Words Without Borders seeks out new writing from around the globe, makes it available in expert English translation, and actively promotes it to a wide US and international audience.

This year’s Firecracker Awards judges were, in fiction: Zeyn Joukhadar, author of The Thirty Names of Night, published by Atria Books; Talia Lakshmi Kolluri, author of What We Fed to the Manticore, published by Tin House; Kevin Sampsell, events coordinator and small-press book buyer at Powell’s Books; in creative nonfiction: Edgar Gomez, author of High Risk Homosexual: A Memoir, published by Soft Skull Press; Raquel Gutiérrez, author of Brown Neon, published by Coffee House Press; Gaël LeLamer, head book buyer at Books & Books; in poetry: Allison Escoto, head librarian and education director at The Center for Fiction; Crystal Wilkinson, author of Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts, published by Clarkson Potter; Shelley Wong, author of As She Appears, published by YesYes Books; in magazines: Sam Campbell, managing editor, The Arkansas International; Manuel Gonzales, fiction editor, Bennington Review; Dana Isokawa, editor in chief, The Margins.

2024 Lord Nose Award Recipient

Jim Perlman, Founding Editor and Publisher of Holy Cow! Press

Photo of Jim Perlman, a light-skinned man with glasses, wearing a patterned tan shirt.

From David Wilk, founder of the Lord Nose Award:

“Holy Cow! Press has been publishing books steadily for 47 years and counting. That is an incredible accomplishment for any publisher, much less one that is committed to literary work—poetry, short fiction, novels, biographies, memoirs, and anthologies. . . . Jim Perlman and Holy Cow! exemplify what the Lord Nose Award is meant to recognize—a lifetime commitment to literary publishing, a willingness to break new ground, take chances, and stand up for overlooked voices.”

Jim Perlman is the founding editor and publisher at Holy Cow! Press, which he founded in 1977. Among the many authors his press has published are Meridel LeSueur, Carol Bly, Louis Jenkins, Joyce Sutphen, Joseph Bruchac, Diane Glancy, Roberta Hill, Kimberly Blaeser, Max Garland, Farzana Marie, Dianna Hunter, and Yael S. Hacohen. Perlman coedited and published three anthologies with Deborah Cooper, Mara Hart, and Pamela Mittlefehldt entitled Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude; The Heart of All That Is: Writings about Home; and Amethyst and Agate: Poems of Lake Superior. Perlman lives in Duluth, Minnesota.


CLMP ensures a vibrant, diverse literary landscape by helping mission-driven independent literary magazines and presses thrive. Since 1967, CLMP has provided publishers with funding and technical assistance; facilitated peer-to-peer learning and group action; served as a dependable, essential hub for best practices, resources, and nurturing community support; and connected publishers with other groups of literary stakeholders, including readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, educators, presenting organizations, and funders. Along with directly serving 1,000+ publishers located in almost every state in the country, CLMP administers the Lit Mag Adoption program, which provides educators and students with discounted magazine subscriptions; the $10,000 Constellation Award, given to honor an independent literary press that is led by and/or champions the writing of people of color for excellence in publishing; and the Firecracker Awards for Independently Published Literature, which celebrate magazines and books that make a significant contribution to our literary culture, among other programs.

For press inquiries contact Mary Gannon at [email protected]