We’re on the 2013 Stranger Genius Award’s shortlist! Huzzah! (Emphasis on ‘short’).

Since 2003, the Stranger has awarded a $5,000, no-strings-attached grant to five artists in five disciplines. Past winners of the Genius Award in Literature include small press writers and artists Matt Briggs, John Olson, Rebecca Brown, Sherman Alexie, Stacey Levine, Jim Woodring and Ellen Forney. We’re honored to have the chance to join such illustrious company. 

The full list of nominations for the 2013 Genius Awards will be released in the Summer issue of A&P, the Stranger’s arts quarterly, which is due out in June. Winners for the Genius Awards will be announced at an event in September.

Interview with Chelsea Martin

Chelsea Martin is the author of some incredibly funny, sporadically affecting books, including Everything Was Fine Until Whatever and The Really Funny Thing About Apathy. You can find her comic Heavy-Handed online at the Rumpus.

She read at APRIL 2012 with Ryan Call, and she also wrote some Reverse Fan Mail for our Kickstarter! APRIL’s Kellen Braddock swapped some emails with Martin, who talked about TV on the Internet, which author quells the jitters and the downsides of sleeping with sitcom characters from the ’90s.

APRIL: What are you currently working on?

Chelsea Martin: 10-20 word documents and drawings for next week’s Heavy-Handed (my comic on The Rumpus)

APRIL: What are you reading and why?

CM: The Ants by Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson. It’s the most comprehensive book on ants ever written.

I’m also reading If on a winter’s night a traveler, because I’ve had sort of a bullshit week, and Italo Calvino calms me.

APRIL: What small press is really ringing your bell right now?

CM: I’m pretty pumped on PictureBox, who is putting out my friend Jonny Negron’s comic book sometime this year. But honestly, I think self-pub is where it’s at.

APRIL: What is some bomb ass shit that I should check out on the internet?

CM: Ehm… Have you heard of Hulu?

APRIL: What was a high point of your Lil Bitch Mini Reading Tour; did you eat anything unexpected? 

CM: The whole thing was really good. I love Elizabeth and Scott, and I have good friends in every city we were in, so it was a really fun trip. I surprised myself by eating a slice of pizza one day – I’m not supposed to eat all that bread!

APRIL: Would you prefer to share a sleeping bag with George Costanza or Elaine Benes?

CM: I don’t think I’d feel comfortable sleeping that close to either one of them, because they are both very judgmental and I worry that either one of them would talk shit on me later. But, eh, George.

APRIL: Does your horoscope affect the decisions you make?

CM: I can sort of follow the logic that the positions of planets might affect certain aspects of life on Earth, but I don’t think anybody is smart enough to say shit about it, so, no.

APRIL: Do you ever write or illustrate while riding public transportation? If so, could you tell us about a conversation you’ve had with an interested over-the-shoulder gazer?  

CM: Anyone looking over my shoulder while I do anything is absolutely not allowed.

APRIL: This was our first festival.  Could you tell us the story of your first publication?

CM: My first story was published in Beeswax Magazine in a really special, letter pressed, hand-made issue. My contributor copies came with pins and cards. I felt really taken care of. Beeswax is based in Oakland, but I don’t know who runs the magazine and I can’t remember how I found out about it.

The Pilot

Hey there, and thanks for stopping by. This is the blog for Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature, or APRIL for short. APRIL is a week-long festival in Seattle dedicated entirely to independent and small press literature. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting our schedule of events, launching a Kickstarter campaign and creating an official, big-boy (or girl) website. This blog will keep you updated on the day-to-day stuff in APRIL, and will generally be a place for us to bullshit about independent literature, among other things.

To wit:

"Because he’s MY butler."

A bit of history: APRIL’s first form (let’s call it pupal) emerged at Pilot Books in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, where Summer Robinson arranged to have more than 30 readings in the store over the course of a single month. She called it Small Press Bookfest 2010, a nod to Northwest BookFest.

The next year, she brought Tara Atkinson and Willie Fitzgerald on board for the next step: taking books out of Pilot and into the city at large. We changed the name to Small Press Festival (SPF) and held readings, parties, zine-making workshops and our Independent Press Book Expo, a video of which you can check out here.

Shortly after SPF 2011 wrapped up, Pilot Books had to close its doors. Then we realized there was another SPF: the venerable Solo Performance Festival at the Theatre Off Jackson (sorry about that guys!). It was, as you could imagine, a tough month for all involved.

We dusted ourselves off,  though, and we’re looking for APRIL to pick up where Pilot Books left off: bringing fabulous independent literature—fiction, poetry, essays; the good stuff—to you, the lovely and talented reader. Summer has stepped down as director (she’s got an awesome new full-time job) and we’ve taken on the gregarious and charming Kellen Braddock to the leadership team. Different lineup, same bookish behavior.

So yes, this is the pilot episode of APRIL. But we’ve been around the block a few times.

Check back in soon for updates, reviews, interviews, indie press news and more. Until then, here’s some sound advice: