Monthly Archives: January 2016

The NBCC Thinks Coffee House Press and Copper Canyon Titles are a Big Deal

This past week, the National Book Critics Circle announced their list of WhatAboutThisfinalists for the 2015 Book Awards. Not one but two Consortium titles made it through the incredibly competitive selection process: What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford from Copper Canyon Press, nominated in Poetry, and The Story of My Teeth from Coffee House Press, nominated in Fiction.

StoryOfMyTeethThe Story of My Teeth has been garnering attention since before its debut. A review in the New York Times raved about it, saying the novel is “playful, attentive and very smart without being for a minute pretentious.” What About This is a collection that has been anticipated for decades, containing works that had been out-of-print since Frank Stanford’s death in the mid-1970s. NPR.org even called its release “the big event in poetry for 2015.”

You might be asking yourself, “But what are the NBCC Awards?”

Each year, the over 600 members of the NBCCcomprised of critics, authors, literary bloggers, publishers, and students—nominate books that they believe are the most critical, groundbreaking titles of the past year. From that pile, the board chooses five titles as finalists in each category (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Autobiography, Biography, and Criticism), and, after a long review process that lasts several months, the winners. This year’s award winners will be announced on March 17th. The chosen authors will join ranks with literary greats such as Vladimir Nabokov, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Sharon Olds, and Louise Erdrich. In other words, it’s a pretty big deal.

Best of luck to Copper Canyon Press and Coffee House Press!

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The Spirit of the Indie: Ig Publishing Founder Robert Lasner Pushes Limits

igpublishingIg Publishing was launched in 2002 with the release of Editor-in-Chief Robert Lasner’s own book, For Fucks Sake. Joining Lasner as co-founder was his wife, Elizabeth, who already had publishing experience through her work at a literary agency. The two were far from inexperienced, but it wasn’t until 2007 that Ig Publishing truly hit its stride. The Lasners refined the focus of their productions, deciding to publish primarily literary fiction, political nonfiction, and classic reprints. Since then, Ig publishing titles have garnered numerous awards, and on January 16, Entropymag.org sat down with Lasner to discuss his publishing journey.

Rather than selecting missile-231x3461books to publish based on genre or author renown, Lasner chooses books that he likes and feels proud of sending out into the world. Lasner doesn’t shy away from difficult topicsIg’s next novel, Missile Paradise by Ron Tanner, out April 2016, confronts systemic racism and the impact of climate change on the Marshall Islands.

Lasner chooses authors who excite him, whose work is fresh and challenging and also might have been passed up by the “Big Five.”

“Sometimes I think about how many of our authors would never have been published if it wasn’t for us,” Lasner said. “It makes you realize how important indie presses are, and what a vital role they play in the publishing ecosystem.”

Ig Publishing is also launching a new series called Bookmarked, in which authors write about books which have had a crucial influence on their lives and their careers. Lasner 9781632460103developed this series to pay tribute to the “primal love of literature” that lives in anyone who writes or works in publishing. Curt Smith wrote the first title of the series, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five: Bookmarked, and Kirby Gann (the series’ editor) wrote John Knowles’ A Separate Peace: Bookmarked.

A penchant for classic literature and reprints doesn’t mean that Lasner and Ig Publishing are caught up in the past. The publisher has adopted e-books (though Lasner admits that he’ll always have a soft spot for print books), and is already looking forward to the next trend.

“It’s all about change,” Lasner said about the industry. “As an independent publisher, you either change and adapt, or die.”

And adapt Ig Publishing has. We can’t wait to see what they do next!

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