Firecracker Awards

Celebrating the Best of Independently Published Literature

Firecracker Awards Seal

The CLMP Firecracker Awards for Independently Published Literature are given annually to celebrate books and magazines that make a significant contribution to our literary culture and the publishers that strive to introduce important voices to readers far and wide. Prizes are awarded in the categories of Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Magazine/General Excellence, and Magazine/Best Debut. Each year, CLMP also awards the Lord Nose Award, given to a publisher or editor in recognition of a lifetime of work in literary publishing.

Each winner in the books category will receive $2,000—$1,000 for the press and $1,000 for the author or translator—and each winner in the magazine categories will receive $1,000. In addition, a national publicity campaign spotlights and promotes our winning titles each year. In partnership with the American Booksellers Association, promotional materials—including a press release and shelf talkers featuring the winning titles—are distributed to over 750 independent booksellers across the country. Winners are also promoted in CLMP’s newsletters, on our website, and through a dedicated social media campaign. The publishers of winning titles receive a free one-year membership to CLMP, and magazine winners receive a one-year CLMP Member subscription to Submittable. To read press coverage about the 2022 Firecracker Award winners, visit our Press Center.

Submissions to the 2023 Firecracker Awards were accepted from September 15 to November 15, 2022 at 5 PM ET. The submission period is now closed.

Finalists will be announced in spring 2023; the winners will be announced in June 2023.

Submission Guidelines

  • Books must be published by an independent publisher during the 2022 calendar year.
  • Anthologies and self-published titles are not eligible but works in translation and graphic novels are welcome.
  • English-language submissions from international publishers are eligible.
  • Both print and digital magazines are eligible.
  • Magazines submitting in the General Excellence category must have published regularly for at least the past two years.
  • Magazines submitting in the Best Debut category must have launched during the 2020, 2021, or 2022 calendar years.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries publishers may submit.
  • The entry fee is $65 ($55 for CLMP Members) for the first book and $30 ($25 for CLMP Members) for each additional entry.

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2023 Firecracker Award Judges


Karen Maeda Allman, former Author Events Co-Coordinator, Elliott Bay Book Company

Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth, published by Riverhead Books

Vauhini Vara, author of  The Immortal King Rao, published by W. W. Norton Company


Creative Nonfiction

Cinelle Barnes, author of Monsoon Mansion: A Memoir, published by Little A

Daisy Hernández, author of The Kissing Bug, published by Tin House

Emerson Whitney, author of Heaven, published by McSweeney’s



Kemi Alabi, author of Against Heaven, published by Graywolf Press

Jenny Gropp, author of The Hominine Egg, published by Kore Press

Komal Mathew, author of For Daughters Who Walk Out Like Sons, published by Zone 3 Press



S. Tremaine Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Northwest Review

Alysia Li Ying Sawchyn, Editor in Chief, The Rumpus

NaBeela Washington, Founder and Editor in Chief, Lucky Jefferson



The Firecracker Awards are sponsored by