Readers & Writers
Publisher Resources
Firecracker Awards

Celebrating the best of Independently and Self-Published Literature

The CLMP Firecracker Awards for Independently and Self-Published Literature are a revitalized iteration of the Firecracker Alternative Book Award, originally established in 1996. This distinguished literary awards series spotlights books and magazines making a sparkling contribution to our literary culture, and publishers striving to introduce important voices to readers far and wide.

A national campaign celebrates and promotes our winning titles each year. Working with the American Booksellers Association, we spotlight the Firecracker Awards through Bookselling This Week, and the national Red Box Mailing, which goes out to independent booksellers across the country.

The 2018 Firecracker Awards ceremony will took place on Thursday, June 7 at Poet’s House in NYC, and was hosted by poet Dorothea Lasky. Submissions for the 2019 awards will open fall 2018.


Congratulations to the 2018 Firecracker Award Winners!
2018 Firecracker Awards Magazine Best Debut

Flock Literary

“Since its re-launch in 2016, Flock Literary Journal is pushing boundaries in our literary culture by publishing a diversity of writers of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry that present bold and engaging works that connect with a wide-reading, ever-changing reading audience. The fact that it is an independent, entirely volunteer-run journal that features established writers as well as newly discovered voices is highly worth noting.” —Judges: Clarence V. Reynolds, Jodee Stanley, Craig Morgan Teicher


2018 Firecracker Award Winner Magazine General Excellence

One Story

“One Story consistently publishes excellent writing in an innovative, even groundbreaking format that offers an intimate reading experience for its audience. The concept of publishing one story per issue, with no additional content, is a deceptively simple idea that has proven to be a perfect showcase for short fiction.” —Judges: Clarence V. Reynolds, Jodee Stanley, Craig Morgan Teicher


2018 Firecracker Awards Fiction Winner

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, Akashic Books

“An Unkindness of Ghosts brings the burden of our history to an imagined future and makes us bear the weight. A speculative page-turner, Afrofuturist dystopia, slave (spaceship) narrative, reconciling character study, queer noir, and more—this novel achieves an otherworldly wonder that’s all too painfully of this world.” —Judges: Sarah Micklem, Jay Nicorvo, & Jess Pane


2018 Firecracker Award Winner Creative Nonfiction

Dreaming of Ramadi In Detroit by Aisha Sabitini Sloan, 1913 Press

“In Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, Aisha Sabitini Sloan masterfully juxtaposes what at first seem to be disparate threads—as in the first essay, where Sloan uses swimming pools as a way to connect David Hockney, Rodney King, racism, and the struggle for natural resources—to give us a thrilling book, at once formally inventive and politically relevant.” Judges: Luis Jaramillo, Marie Mutsuki Mockett, & Geo Ong


2018 Firecracker Award Winner Poetry

Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora, Copper Canyon Press

“This lyrical debut depicts a young unaccompanied migrant’s journey into the U.S. after the civil war in El Salvador. Bravo to Javier Zamora’s political and emotionally provocative collection that gives voice to the voiceless in a time when such poems are so direly needed. Zamora’s book shines amidst today’s reckless and inhumane political climate toward migrant youth.” Judges: Mahogany Browne, Cassie Duggan & Christopher Soto



2018 Firecracker Award Finalists



Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor (Rescue Press)

Tom o’Vietnam by Baron Wormser (New Rivers Press)

I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On by Khadijah Queen (YesYes Books)

North Station by Bae Suah, trans. Deborah Smith (Open Letter)

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (Akashic Books)

Moonbath by Yanick Lahens, trans. Emily Gogolak (Deep Vellum Publishing)

Wolf Season by Helen Benedict (Bellevue Literary Press)

The Right Way to Be Crippled and Naked edited by Sheila Black, Michael Northen, Annabelle Hayse (Cinco Puntos Press)

The Passion of Woo & Isolde by Jennifer Tseng (Rose Metal Press)

Empire of Glass by Kaitlin Solimine (Ig Publishing)



Acker by Douglas Martin (Nightboat Books)Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life by Chelsea Martin (Soft Skull)

In the Province of the Gods by Kenny Fries (The University of Wisconsin Press)

Surviving Jersey: Danger and Insanity in the Garden State by Scott Loring Sanders (Outpost 19)

Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit by Aisha Sabatini Sloan (1913 Press)

Vagrants & Uncommon Visitors by A. Kendra Greene (Anomalous Press)

Patagonian Road by Kate McCahill (Santa Fe Writers Project)

Pain Woman Takes Your Keys, and Other Essays from a Nervous System by Sonya Huber (University of Nebraska Press)

The Flowers in My Mothers’ Name by Philip Harris (Nomadic Press)

There You Are: Interviews, Journals and Ephermera by Joanne Kyger and edited by Cedar Sigo (Wave Books)



Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora (Copper Canyon Press)
While Standing in Line for Death by CAConrad (Wave Books)
Silk Poems by Jen Bervin (Nightboat Books)
Field Theories by Samiyah Bashir (Nightboat Books)
Starshine & Clay by Kamilah Aisha Moon (Four Way Books)
blud by Rachel McKibbens (Copper Canyon Press)
I Know Your Kind: Poems by William Brewer (Milkweed Editions)
The Happy End / All Welcome by Mónica de la Torre (Ugly Duckling Presse)



We would like to collect information during your site visit to help us better understand site use. This data is anonymized, and will not be used for marketing purposes. Read More on our Privacy Policy page. You can withdraw permission at any time or update your privacy settings here. Please choose below to continue.