Did the fourth of July come early? CLMP’S Firecracker Awards has just announced their 2019 winners and finalists for the best self and independently published books of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and literary magazines! CLMP (community of literary magazines and presses) is a non-for-profit collective of hundreds of small independent publishers, who have come together to learn, collaborate, and organize around a shared set of publishing beliefs. In its fifth year, the Firecracker Awards was created as a way to promote and celebrate independent publishers who make a meaningful contribution to the literary world.
Here’s a little snippet of some 2019 winners we found particularly exciting:
Best work of Fiction was awarded to Arsenal Pulp Press’s Little Fish by Casey Plett.
“In Little Fish, Casey Plett brings us fully into the world of her characters and lets us feel the fateful inevitability of their choices. Plett’s protagonist, Wendy, is searching for a hidden trans lineage in her own family tree. This heroic quest is at once deeply private and an enormously helpful way to think about what it means for any of us to come of age and become heroes of our own lives.”
Best work of Creative Nonfiction was awarded to The Leftovers by Shaelyn Smith, published by Cleveland State University Poetry Centre.
“The strength and poignancy of Shaelyn Smith’s The Leftovers rests in the work itself not being easily categorized. Emerging out of a critical engagement—one might even say a fixation—with Judy Chicago’s iconic feminist art installation The Dinner Party housed at the Brooklyn Museum, The Leftovers encapsulates feminist testimony, art criticism, and personal discovery while rendering the visual as tactile and vivid.”
Best Magazine Debut was awarded to Aster(ix), a feminist literary arts journal from Pittsburgh and New York City. They publish a series of thematic print issues, that largely place women of colour at the center.
Runners-up included works published by the Santa Fe Writers Project, Two Lines Press, and Milkweed editions.