“Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.” - Edith Wharton (I bet the one time of day when this chalk drawing matches up with the shadow of this cable is pretttttttty cool.)

“Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.” - Edith Wharton (I bet the one time of day when this chalk drawing matches up with the shadow of this cable is pretttttttty cool.)

From Jac: APRIL Underway!

APRIL is starting! Jump on the train! It is I, your bleary-eyed writer-in-residence, Jac Jemc, reporting at 7 am from the swanky apartment I’ll be inhabiting for the coming week. So much has happened already! I can’t wait to see what else might befall me in the week ahead. image

Yesterday I flew in from Chicago at the crack of dawn, and finished reading an incredible book of essays on the plane: The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. I can’t quite express how much I loved this book. I’ve been a little obsessed with the concepts of compassion and empathy lately and this book was EXACTLY what I was looking for. She talks about being a standardized patient for med students, going to a conference on the inexplicable disease Morgellons, and running an ultra-marathon made to mimic the disoriented escape path of James Earl Ray from the Brushy Mountain State penitentiary in 1977. In all of the essays, Jamison is looking for access to what drives people and their behavior. She’s fallible in that way that simultaneously makes me feel better and also want to be better. But enough about that. That was just the plane ride: literature!

Next, this guy welcomed me to the airport in Seattle. It’s a mural by Michael Fajans of a magician and his assistant performing a trick where a woman is either appearing or disappearing from a box. I saw this when I was in town last month for AWP, too, and was confused. This time I decided to look it up and I discovered that apparently the idea is about how planes can also make you appear or disappear. I like it more now that I know that about it, but I think the bit that really trips me up, is the weird uncanny valley happening with the way the performers are rendered. I’m weirded out by CGI, and this feels like that to me. Anyway, get out of the airport, Jac. There’s literature to be had!

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After gathering my bags, Frances Dinger and Richard Chiem were kind enough to pick me up and hustle me over to the Hugo House. They are lovely people and they were playing Valerie June. It brought me joy. 

I checked in at Hugo House and ran over to Elliott Bay Books to grab an iced coffee and a biscuit before class. It took everything in me not to just skip class and browse books for the next few hours, but I will return!

The topic of the course I was leading was “Fooling Ourselves (Into Writing)” and we explored the creative methods/habits of Twyla Tharp, Mary Robison, Diane Williams, Gary Lutz, Harry Mathews, Lynda Barry, and Rebecca Solnit. Then we tried out their methods. The class members were really awesome; even the students that seemed to be more on the traditional side of things were very receptive to trying out the exercises and forthcoming with what they pulled together. There were some incredible stories started there. I hope to see them become fully formed. 

After class I walked up to the apartment and got settled. Look at this lovely courtyard I have right outside my bedroom!

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I regrouped, and then hopped over to 15th to grab a quick dinner at Smith. I had some mac and cheese and kale and a No-Li Spin Cycle Red. (I’m really lying to myself that the kale counterbalances all that cheese and alcohol, but every little bit, you know?) And then, because I had 10 minutes to spare, I had the good sense to purchase some bananas at the QFC and coffee from Victrola. I figured I’d be happy about this decision in the morning. (I was right).image

Then, rehearsal with the Satori Group! APRIL head honchos Willie Fitzgerald and Tara Atkinson picked me up and took me over to the rehearsal where we met up with Kellen Braddock. The Satori Group has been working on performance pieces based on stories from Richard Chiem, Matt Briggs, and myself for Thursday’s All Made Up fiction showcase. I won’t reveal too much more about this, but it’s going to be AWESOME. I am floored by what Satori has made in relation to my story, “Filch and Rot.” Also, I should note that the performance is taking place in the Inscape Arts Building, formerly the United States Immigrant Station and Assay Office. I’m a real sucker for buildings like this that have been transformed to be used for another purpose, especially when there’s a bit of dark history attached to the former life, and the new life is about creation and moving forward. 

Then, I promptly fell down on my bed and slept until 6:30 this morning. I am still hoping I can at least fake being a productive person in the midst of this busy week.

Tonight I hope a ton of people will come out for the APRIL launch party at Chop Suey. I’ll be reading with Maged Zaher and Ed Skoog, with performance by the Vis-a-Vis Society and Pony Time. See y’all there at 8!

Complete list of all the presses and book-makers that will be at the APRIL Independent Publishing Expo (Saturday 3/29)

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Each year, APRIL caps off its week-long festival with a big book fair at Seattle’s writing and literary arts center, Richard Hugo House. This year 39 presses will be in attendance. Scope ‘em out below!


1. The APRIL table will have a few goodies and books from the 2014 festival authors.

2. Willow Springs Editions is a small literary press housed in Eastern Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers. Each year they offer the Spokane Prize for fiction and publish one surrealist poetry chapbook.

3. Poor Claudia is a poetry chapbook imprint of Octopus Books, a small poetry press based in Portland Ore, Lincoln NE & Denver CO.

4. Copper Canyon is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to poetry.

5. alice blue books is the creator of small run handmade books and art books, as well as the chapbook series SHOTGUN WEDDING, focusing on poetry, fiction, nonfiction and graphic novel work in the Pacific Northwest.

6. Raven Chronicles publishes work which reflects the cultural diversity of the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and other areas of America. They promote art, literature and the spoken word for an audience that is hip, literate, funny, informed, and lives in a society that has a multicultural sensibility.

7. StringTown has published a magazine and book-length writing by Northwest authors for the last twelve years.

8. Les Sardines is a writing collective founded in 2008 and based in Seattle.

9. Lazy Fascist is an imprint of bizarro fiction publisher Eraserhead Press. Lazy Fascist publishes authors who, through careful exploration of unique linguistic landscapes, create monstrous, unclassifiable fictions.

10. Chin Music publishes risky books as “literary objects”—books that are a pleasure to touch as well as read.

11. The Monarch Review is an online and print journal based in Seattle that aims to sustain vibrant, vagabond culture by creating a forum for emerging and established artists and thinkers.

12. Portland-based Microcosm Publishing has been publishing zines and books since 1996.

13. Pacifica Literary Review is a small literary arts magazine based in Seattle with print editions in winter and summer.

14. Spartan publishes short, minimalist prose.

15. featherproof is an indie publisher dedicated to doing whatever they want: publishing an idiosyncratic novel, design book, or something in between. They love paper, but aren’t afraid of computers. Their website offers free fold-yourself downloadable mini-books and Storigami.

16. YesYes Books is based out of Portland and publishes poetry, prose, and visual art that make them excited for the day.

17. Wave is an independent poetry press based in Seattle dedicated to publishing the best in contemporary poetry, poetry in translation, and writing by poets.

18. Publication Studio (founded in 2009 in Portland, Oregon) prints and binds books one at a time on-demand, creating original work with artists and writers they admire.

19. The Furnace is a quarterly reading series showcasing one new prose writer (fiction, nonfiction, playwriting) at a time with the mission to encourage innovative storytelling and a vibrant literary community. Listen live at the Hollow Earth Performance space and online at Hollowearthradio.org. They publish a quarterly zine to correspond with their reading series & podcast.

20. Tavern Books is a not-for-profit publisher of poetry founded in Portland, Oregon publishing translations from the world’s finest poets, new works by innovative writers and revivals of out-of-print classics. All Tavern Books titles are permanently in print, honoring the cultural contract between publisher and author, as well as between publisher and public.

21. PageBoy Magazine publishes both literary and visual art.

22. Poetry Northwest is the oldest poetry magazine in the Northwest.

23. Big Fiction celebrates the soul of the long story: generous, transportive, and a little wild. They’re an independent journal publishing ambitious and delicious fiction twice a year, in hand-designed letterpress issues.

24. Dock Street Press is a boutique-publishing house specializing in compelling narrative non-fiction and clean, intelligent fiction.

25. Babel/Salvage is a non-profit engine for artistic and literary ingenuity and community involvement located geographically in Seattle, Washington.

26. Minor Arcana specializes in geek authors, spiritual minority authors and romantic/gender/sexual minorities such as LGBTQ authors and the fetish community and pairs them with provocative cover artists to create beautiful books and empower overlooked and outsider authors and artists.

27. Seattle-based Dark Coast Press publishes literary fiction, poetry, and experimental writing from emerging and established authors.

28. Lettered Streets Press, based out of Seattle and Chicago, publishes poetry, prose, and hybrid forms.

29. Fence is Fence Magazine, Fence Books, the poetry review website The Constant Critic, and La Press, publishing translations from French— all committed to very contemporary literature.

30. Nouvella publishes novellas by emerging authors.

31. Factory Hollow Press publishes books, chapbooks and broadsides in both limited and trade editions. The press is the publishing division of Flying Object Center for Independent Publishing, Art, & the Book, Inc.. Established in 2005, the press has published and produced over 60 books, chapbooks, broadsides, vinyl LPs, and other special projects.

32. Sarabande Books is a non-profit publishing house based in Louisville, KY committed to publishing quality literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

33. Caketrain is a Pennsylvania-based journal and press.

34. Dorothy is a publishing project dedicated to works of fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women.

35. Publishing Genius believes in literature’s ability to create sympathy and a better world, and therefore seeks to publish genre-defying books in the most interesting and progressive ways.

36. Magic Helicopter Press, based in Western Massachusetts, is focused on publishing across platforms, mediums and “the universe.” Their paper books are collectible art items, not unlike Dale Earnhardt commemorative plates. They also publish experimental multimedia projects: poetry videos and poetry video games.

37. Black Ocean, based out of Chicago, New York, and Boston, brings together a spectrum of influences and combines them with a radical social perspective on the nature of art and humanity.

38. Short Flight/Long Drive is an independent, non-profit small press specializing in the publication of fiction and the book arm of Hobart, a literary magazine founded in 2001.

39. Future Tense Books is one of the longest-running small-presses around. Run tirelessly by Kevin Sampsell in Portland.

post-paneling AWP off-site readings— for everyone!

Team APRIL is excited to go into the conference center for AWP for the endless buffet of panels and discussions from thousands of writers and publishers arriving in Seattle this week (you’ll see us especially Thursday at this panel Frances is moderating about expanding small press readership and this panel Friday where Tara will talk about readings off campus)—but if you aren’t going to register for the conference, there’s still a million readings and parties for you each night. Here’s some of our picks:

Come see us!


THURSDAY 2/27

APRIL/Gigantic/Magic Helicopter/Octopus Books/Poor Claudia Off-Site Reading

Raygun Lounge, 8 pm, free

Readings from James Yeh, Mike Young, Adam Wilson, Melissa Broder, Tyler Gobble, Carrie Lorig, James Gendron, and Tyler Brewington

FRIDAY 2/28

FSG Originals presents LITERATURE PARTY 2014
a night of literature and party benefiting APRIL

FRED Wildlife Refuge, 9pm, $7 adv/ $10 door

Readings from Amelia Gray, Melissa Broder, Sommer Browning
Dance party by DJs Jon Francois and Christian Science
Giant video wall by HTML Giant
Bookstore by Vouched Books

Get a sneak peak of APRIL Festival 2014’s readers

THURSDAY 2/27
ED SKOOG reads at “Burnside Review, Four Way Books, Canarium Books, and Lana Turner Reading”

Fremont Abbey, 7pm, free

With Ed Skoog, Ralph Angel, Jeff Alessandrelli, Paula Cisewski, David J. Daniels, Brian Komei Dempster, Karen Brennan, Joy Katz, Ish Klein, Tod Marshall, Christopher Mattison, Sawako Nakayasu, Richard Greenfield, Sara Deniz Akant, and Jessica Laser.


DONALD DUNBAR reads at “Similar:Peaks::Poetry & Press Reading:Release::Party vol. 1”

Vermillion, 9pm, free

With Amy Silbergeld, Rauan Klassnik, Johannes Goransson, Monica McClure, Paula Cisewski, Marcus McDonald, Brian Oliu, Donald Dunbar, Lara Glenum, Brian W Hedgepeth, Jade Benoit, Kevin Sampsell and more.


FRIDAY 2/28
JANE WONG reads at “I’M SO TIRED 2: Makeout Creek, OH NO Books, & Smoking Glue Gun Reading “

6pm, Vermillion, free

With Colleen Barry, Stephanie Berger, Nick Demske, Tarfia Faizullah, Noah Falck, Joe Hall, Sally Wen Mao, Joshua Poteat, Nate Waggoner, & Jane Wong


KATE LEBO reads at “VIDA: Women in Literary Arts Leave it to VIDA!”

Richard Hugo House, 8pm, $10 min donation

Readings by VIDA supporters Cheryl Strayed, Nick Flynn, Pam Houston, Natalie Diaz, Melissa Febos, Kate Lebo and Alexander Chee lampooning the bad ol’ days of the post war domestic.


LAUREN IRELAND reads at “The Destroyer, Flying Guillotine Press, Coconut, & Barrelhouse Author Reading “

LoFi Performance Gallery, 6pm, free

Stephanie Balzer, Brian Blanchfield, Dan Brady, Serena Chopra, Lauren Ireland, Krystal Languell, Justin Marks, John Twice Myers, Amber Nelson, Michael Rerick, & Shelly Taylor and $4 wells.


SATURDAY 3/1
DONALD DUNBAR and LAUREN IRELAND read at “Seattle Six-Press Release Reading:

Rendezvouz Jewelbox Theater, 5pm, free

Sunnyoutside Press, Calamari, Hyacinth Girl Press, Magic Helicopter Press, Mammoth Editions, and Future Tense for a reading to celebrate the release of 7 new titles. Readers include Rusty Barnes, James Brubaker, Brandon Hobson, Lauren Ireland, Dan Nowak, May-Lan Tan, and Donald Dunbar.


SHIN YU PAI and MAGED ZAHER read at “From the Convergence Zone: UWB MFA”

Sole Repair, 6pm, free

With 1913 Press, Belladonna* Collaborative, Chax Press, Coach House, Essay Press, Les Figues Press, Slope Editions & Split Level Texts and 26+ readers.


ZUBAIR AHMED reads at “McSweeney’s Poetry Series Reading”

Richard Hugo House, 8pm, free

With Victoria Chang, Dan Chelotti, Zubair Ahmed, and Carl Adamshick.


MAGED ZAHER reads at “The Great Unwind: Music and Poetry”

Gallery 1412, 10pm, free

Caroline Crumpacker, Ben Doller, Robert Fernandez, Samantha Giles, Cole Swensen, Maged Zaher, music and refreshments.

And in case you need more:

WEDNESDAY 2/26

(say goodbye to a beloved Seattle reading series at) the Breadline finale

7pm, Vermillion, free

roberto carlos ascalon, arlene biala, sarah heady, michelle penaloza & musical guest oh! pears

unlimited open mic & dance party with dj windows95


THURSDAY 2/27

Wave Books off-site at ACT Theater

5:30pm, ACT Theater, free

with Mary Ruefle, Joshua Beckman, Cedar Sigo, Garrett Caples, and Eileen Myles


AWP IRL hosted by Tin House, Wave Books, and Tumblr

8pm, Chop Suey, free

Readings by Dorothea Lasky, Peter Mountford, Bianca Stone, and Matthew Zapruder

Tunes provided by DJ Mas y Menos (Colombia) & New Dadz (Portland)

Free admission and drinks (while they last).


Third Man Records, Black Ocean, & Mission Creek Present: Language Lessons Volume 1 AWP RELEASE PARTY

8pm, Barboza, $10/$5 with AWP badge

Readings from CD Wright, Kiki Petrosino, Brian Foley, DJ Dolack, Brian Barker, Adrian Matejka, Dale Ray Phillips

Music by Stickers

And a DJ set by Third Man Records co-founder Ben Swank


FRIDAY 2/28

PSYCCITY Seattle

8pm, Vermillion, $5-$20 suggested donation

Poetry Serving Youth City by City (PSYCCity) partners with YouthCare in Seattle to raise the poetry community’s awareness of youth homelessness. Featured readers: Matthew Dickman, Matt Hart, Tanya Olson, Roger Reeves and Phillip B. Williams.


SATURDAY 3/1

Alice Blue + Bloof + Coconut at AWP 2014

6pm, The Pine Box, free

Readings from Tyler Brewington, Jackie Clark, Shanna Compton, Mel Coyle, Bruce Covey, Ben Fama, Hailey Higdon, Megan Kaminski, Jiyoon Lee, Joseph Mains, Pattie McCarthy, Amanda Montei, Amber Nelson, Jenn Marie Nunes, Alexis Pope, Dawn Sueoka, Jennifer Tamayo, Ellen Welcker, Joseph P Wood, Wendy Xu and Nick Sturm

THANK YOU!!!

Because of your support, APRIL raised $2,646 towards this year’s festival.

THANK YOU!!!

Because of your support, APRIL raised $2,646 towards this year’s festival.

How do you love independent literature? Let us count the ways.

Thanks to all of APRIL’s supporters for being our valentines.

Tomorrow’s the last day of APRIL’s fundraiser! Show a little love at aprilfestival.com

announcing the 2014 festival lineup

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Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature (APRIL) is excited to announce the lineup for the 2014 festival.

This is our third annual festival, and it includes some old favorites (the competitive storytelling event, “A Poet, a Playwright, a Novelist, and a Drag Queen”) and new twists (the “APRIL Pizza Party”).

This year, the festival will also unveil two new programs:

Read More

APRIL is excited to host our first ever Writer in Residence, Jac Jemc, and to bring poet Mark Leidner to Seattle for the festival, too. 

Jac Jemc’s My Only Wife (Dzanc Books) was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. Her collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time, is due out in October 2014.

Mark Leidner is the author of Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me (Factory Hollow Press, 2011) and The Angel in the Dream of Our Hangover (Sator Press, 2011). He lives in Atlanta and writes at twitter.com/markleidner.

Sample their work with this excerpt from Jac’s novel My Only Wife  and five poems from Mark in La Petite Zine.



You can help us cover Jac and Mark’s lodging and travel costs by donating to APRIL. We’re a volunteer-run nonprofit, so your gift is tax-deductible and goes entirely to festival costs. (Jac and Mark are both Reverse Fan Mail authors, too! —Don’t know about the Reverse Fan Mail? Read this!) 

We’re announcing our full line-up February 1!

APRIL is excited to host our first ever Writer in Residence, Jac Jemc, and to bring poet Mark Leidner to Seattle for the festival, too.

Jac Jemc’s My Only Wife (Dzanc Books) was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. Her collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time, is due out in October 2014.

Mark Leidner is the author of Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me (Factory Hollow Press, 2011) and The Angel in the Dream of Our Hangover (Sator Press, 2011). He lives in Atlanta and writes at twitter.com/markleidner.

Sample their work with this excerpt from Jac’s novel My Only Wife and five poems from Mark in La Petite Zine.

You can help us cover Jac and Mark’s lodging and travel costs by donating to APRIL. We’re a volunteer-run nonprofit, so your gift is tax-deductible and goes entirely to festival costs. (Jac and Mark are both Reverse Fan Mail authors, too! —Don’t know about the Reverse Fan Mail? Read this!)

We’re announcing our full line-up February 1!

You can join our book club!  This second ‘series’ of Book Club books includes: HOW TO SHAKE THE OTHER MAN, by Derek Palacio (Nouvella Books), MONOGAMY SONGS, by Gregory Sherl (Future Tense Books) and IF I SHOULD SAY I HAVE HOPE, by Lynn Melnick (YesYes Books).  (We’ve already met to discuss HOW TO SHAKE THE OTHER MAN, but we’d be happy to warm the conversation back up for you.) The next Book Club meeting is Feb. 9. If you can’t commit, RSVP to drop in. Email kellen [at] aprilfestival [dot] com to join up!

You can join our book club!  This second ‘series’ of Book Club books includes: HOW TO SHAKE THE OTHER MAN, by Derek Palacio (Nouvella Books), MONOGAMY SONGS, by Gregory Sherl (Future Tense Books) and IF I SHOULD SAY I HAVE HOPE, by Lynn Melnick (YesYes Books).  (We’ve already met to discuss HOW TO SHAKE THE OTHER MAN, but we’d be happy to warm the conversation back up for you.) The next Book Club meeting is Feb. 9. If you can’t commit, RSVP to drop in. Email kellen [at] aprilfestival [dot] com to join up!

Tags: book club

More books from Nouvella and Short Flight/Long Drive

We’re looking forward to more from Derek Palacio, the author of our January Book Club pick, How to Shake the Other Man (review here). In the meantime, we’ll be sure to check out some other especially well-designed books from Nouvella. Here’s our picks:

The Sensualist, by Daniel Torday

The Last Repatriate, by Matthew Salesses

Your Rightful Home, by Alyssa Knickerbocker


The author of our December Book Club pick, Mary Miller, has a first novel due from Liveright in just a few days (1/20) called The Last Days of California that we’re definitely picking up. We have a few faves from Big World's publisher, Short Flight/Long Drive, too:

More from Short Flight/Long Drive:
Even Though I Don’t Miss You by Chelsea Martin
Other Kinds by Dylan Nice
Fast Machine by Elizabeth Ellen
Review of Big World here.