Support independent literary publishing and buy tickets to our gala!! You’ll get all our love, not to mention a delicious Chinese banquet dinner. We promise it’s more fun than takeout. 
This year we’re honoring the amazing Katie Freeman, genius publicist at Riverhead Books, and Fiona McCrae, awesome publisher at Graywolf Press. How can you say no to IRL idols?

Support independent literary publishing and buy tickets to our gala!! You’ll get all our love, not to mention a delicious Chinese banquet dinner. We promise it’s more fun than takeout.

This year we’re honoring the amazing Katie Freeman, genius publicist at Riverhead Books, and Fiona McCrae, awesome publisher at Graywolf Press. How can you say no to IRL idols?

"By This Time Next Year" by Kathlene Postma, North Atlantic Review, Issue 14 (2002-2003)

I find my eleven-year-old daughter inside the floor freezer, her butt parked on a mound of white paper bricks. Bear parts from Don’s last hunting trip. Her knees arched over the thirty-one Ziploc bags I’ve spent all morning filling with green beans. Under her neck is a plastic cushion of corn. From the way she’s sprawled out, arms crossed over her head, I get the feeling she’s done this before.

"By This Time Next Year" by Kathlene Postma, North Atlantic Review, Issue 14 (2002-2003)

I find my eleven-year-old daughter inside the floor freezer, her butt parked on a mound of white paper bricks. Bear parts from Don’s last hunting trip. Her knees arched over the thirty-one Ziploc bags I’ve spent all morning filling with green beans. Under her neck is a plastic cushion of corn. From the way she’s sprawled out, arms crossed over her head, I get the feeling she’s done this before.

"Bar Joke, Arizona" by Sam Allingham, One Story, 2007

A man walks into a bar. He walks over to the bartender and says, “Can I get a drink?”
The bartender looks up from the fan he’s been tinkering with and says, “Sure. What would you like?”
"Well," the man says. "The problem is, I don’t have any money." 
"I see," the barender says.
"But I do have…"
The man starts, then breaks off, hesitates, and begins again.
"I have…oh…wait…hold on…"
The bartender shakes his head and starts washing some glasses.
"Look, I have—you know," the man mumbles, gesturing in the air. "Oh, I used to remember this one. Gimme a second."
Finally he gives up and starts staring at his hands.
The bartender finishes washing the glasses, throws the rag over his shoulder, and gives the man a hard look. It’s a stifling day, the bar has no air conditioning, and with the fan broken the heat’s starting to bother him.
"You forgot the punch line, didn’t you?" the bartender asks.

"Bar Joke, Arizona" by Sam Allingham, One Story, 2007

A man walks into a bar. He walks over to the bartender and says, “Can I get a drink?”

The bartender looks up from the fan he’s been tinkering with and says, “Sure. What would you like?”

"Well," the man says. "The problem is, I don’t have any money." 

"I see," the barender says.

"But I do have…"

The man starts, then breaks off, hesitates, and begins again.

"I have…oh…wait…hold on…"

The bartender shakes his head and starts washing some glasses.

"Look, I have—you know," the man mumbles, gesturing in the air. "Oh, I used to remember this one. Gimme a second."

Finally he gives up and starts staring at his hands.

The bartender finishes washing the glasses, throws the rag over his shoulder, and gives the man a hard look. It’s a stifling day, the bar has no air conditioning, and with the fan broken the heat’s starting to bother him.

"You forgot the punch line, didn’t you?" the bartender asks.

"If You Can Hear Me Thinking" by Kiara Brinkman, One Story, 2007

Ronan’s mother made him and his brother practice acting bad so it would look real when the nanny from the TV show came. The boys practiced punching at each other and biting, fighting over broken plastic toys neither of them played with anymore. Their mother said that this was her chance to be discovered. National fucking TV.

"If You Can Hear Me Thinking" by Kiara Brinkman, One Story, 2007

Ronan’s mother made him and his brother practice acting bad so it would look real when the nanny from the TV show came. The boys practiced punching at each other and biting, fighting over broken plastic toys neither of them played with anymore. Their mother said that this was her chance to be discovered. National fucking TV.

"The Hotel Fiesta Sestina" by David Lehman, Open City, Issue 20

As fingerprints to a detective are a painter’s brushstrokes
to critics who reveal themselves by their choice of hotel
in foreign cities where the weather is inner
and an impassive tuxedo-clad angel may dance the tango
with a nude in bright hues, and later they get to eat breakfast
in bed and talk about modern art and its wonders.

"The Hotel Fiesta Sestina" by David Lehman, Open City, Issue 20

As fingerprints to a detective are a painter’s brushstrokes

to critics who reveal themselves by their choice of hotel

in foreign cities where the weather is inner

and an impassive tuxedo-clad angel may dance the tango

with a nude in bright hues, and later they get to eat breakfast

in bed and talk about modern art and its wonders.

"Baby in a Body Cast" by Lucy Corin, Other Voices, Vol. 19, No. 45 (Fall/Winter 2006)

In the corner, the baby looked in the direction his body cast cast him. Birth did it to him, squished his bendy bones through the yawn of his mother’s pelvis and left him floppy. In one open moment his skin felt the white air. The world was loud. It gushed, prismatic, cold, sharp, dry, and gaspingly thin. He tingled in the starry light that lit as if from within. His bones pushed at his skin, loosed from their joints, and while there was pain, he was also feeling his body loosed in the universe.

"Baby in a Body Cast" by Lucy Corin, Other Voices, Vol. 19, No. 45 (Fall/Winter 2006)

In the corner, the baby looked in the direction his body cast cast him. Birth did it to him, squished his bendy bones through the yawn of his mother’s pelvis and left him floppy. In one open moment his skin felt the white air. The world was loud. It gushed, prismatic, cold, sharp, dry, and gaspingly thin. He tingled in the starry light that lit as if from within. His bones pushed at his skin, loosed from their joints, and while there was pain, he was also feeling his body loosed in the universe.

5 Questions: A Public Space

Lena Valencia
Managing Editor
@lenavee
 
1. What’s the best part of your job?
Definitely discovering the work of new writers or writers who are new to me. I am consistently impressed and empowered by the caliber of work APS publishes. 
 
2. And the worst?
Our office has giant doors that open out onto the street. 99.9% of the time it makes for a cheerful, sun-filled, work environment but from time to time we deal with construction noise, catcalls, etc. which is not so fun. 
 
3. What’re your thoughts on social media and the role it plays in the literary publishing industry today? Is it more helpful or harmful?
From the perspective of a lit mag like APS, social media is a great tool—it builds a community and connects readers with writers. So in that way I would say it’s helpful if you know how to use it effectively. That said, when I’m working on my own writing, I find it incredibly distracting and overwhelming, and it takes a tremendous amount of discipline for me to avoid it and focus on my work.
 
4. If you could pick another profession, what would it be?
Lead singer in a rock band.
 
5. Where’s your sanctuary?
My head is the clearest when I’m riding my bike through the city.
***
Jonathan Lee
Associate Editor
@JonLeeWriter
 
1. What’s the best part of your job?
I love it when our team of Readers, going through the several hundred unsolicited pieces submitted to us each month, finds a promising story or essay by a previously unpublished writer. Often it’s even more exciting when the piece needs a lot of work but shows a great deal of raw potential. All editors think they know how to “fix” a piece, and it can be fun working with a writer on several drafts before eventually seeing their work make its way into the magazine. 
 
2. And the worst?
Like most literary magazines, it’s inevitable and necessary that we reject over 99% of the work submitted to us. It can be tough to be the harbinger of so much bad news – not as tough as being on the receiving end of it, but still not ideal. 
 
3. What’re your thoughts on social media and the role it plays in the literary publishing industry today? Is it more helpful or harmful?
Social media has made it so much easier for magazines like ours and great indy presses like Melville House, Coffee House, Graywolf Press and many others to reach their readers directly. If Graywolf want to run an event for emerging writers next week, they can reach their target audience with a single tweet and the venue will likely be full. For me, that huge benefit – the solution to the issue of access – outweighs all the less attractive stuff about social media.
 
4. If you could pick another profession, what would it be?
I’d be the lead guitarist in our Managing Editor’s imaginary rock band. 
 
5. Where’s your sanctuary?
Fresh coffee and a Morning Glory Muffin from Mazzola Bakery in Carroll Gardens, combined with a good book.
***
Laura Preston
Editorial Assistant
@Laura_Harp
 
1. What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to read work from authors I love.
 
2. And the worst?
 
Scenario: a passerby wanders into the office through the building’s iron doors, which we keep open to the street when the weather is nice.
“Hey, what is this place?”
“This is A Public Space.”
“Oh this is a public space? Like an internet café?”
“No, we are a magazine.  A Public Space.”
“So you are a public space?”
“We are not a public space.”
“But you just said…?”
  
3. What’re your thoughts on social media and the role it plays in the literary publishing industry today? Is it more helpful or harmful?
Mostly helpful, but the harms are real: social media has reduced our collective attention span, which makes it harder for us to sit down in a real chair in a real apartment in the real, physical universe and digest 300 pages of printed text. There’s an overwhelming racket of voices out there with no hierarchy and no curation. Vague opinion and sensational click-fodder pass as journalism.
 
4. If you could pick another profession, what would it be?
Archaeologist, or maybe one of the appraisers on the Antiques Roadshow.
 
5. Where’s your sanctuary?
Cherry Esplanade of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (great for quiet Sunday people-watching).
***

Five Questions: A Mini Interview Series

We love the people that make up this community. The visionary editors and publishers, the marketing wizards who can work miracles with a shoestring budget, the super-savvy interns, and everyone in between. We think it’s about time we celebrated the amazing and witty and straight-up brilliant people behind indie lit magazines and presses. So we decided to start a mini interview series! 5 questions: 3 about literature and 2 about, well, anything. (Pizza, mostly. Because how else do you think we get so much done?) We hope this interview series will turn the impersonal, somewhat hard to pronounce names on a masthead into real, live people you can relate and connect to.

First up? The team behind lit mag A Public Space.

The Firecracker Awards for Independently and Self-Published Literature

Hey, y’all! Guess what? The Firecracker Awards are back!

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That’s right. And we’re currently reading submissions. Categories include Best Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Graphic Novel, YA, and Magazine of the Year. 

Find out more information and enter on our Submittable page: https://firecracker.submittable.com/submit 

"Recovery Period" by Sasha Graybosch, recommended by Electric Literature

recommendedreading:


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Issue No. 113

EDITOR’S NOTE


In Sasha Graybosch’s “Recovery Period,” a sardonic woman called Greer suffers from a degenerative eye disease. “Eyes going Greer?” her boyfriend Lucien asks, as if she is both the victim and the cause of the disease, a patient zero. Keratoconus, it’s called, causes the cornea to protrude into cone. A Google image search of the condition reveals bulging eyeballs like those of surprised cartoon characters, and it’s fitting somehow to picture Greer that way—disoriented and flabbergasted—when she learns of Lucien’s death:

“Lucien’s exit from Greer’s apartment and then her life was incomprehensible; it disrupted the logic she’d once trusted—a grid had been twisted into additional dimensions. His death curled backwards over his entrance, so that when she reached for the beginning, or the middle, she always came up with the end.”

“Recovery Period” is one of the most extraordinary and sophisticated depictions of grief I have read. The world, viewed through Greery eyes, becomes both a reflection and a projection of her unstable emotional state: “Abruptly the temperature plummeted and a stretch of freezing rain bound the earth’s surface to the sky, one grey layer compressed beneath another. The trees, unable to prepare, suffered.” That kind of resonance between the inner and outer worlds is what elevates “Recovery Period” from subtle observation to gobsmacking truth.

But it’s not all straightforward. The story’s pathos is complicated by mysterious postcards that arrive from nowhere, and phone calls that may or may not come from purgatory. Graybosch makes reference to the famous eye slicing in Buñuel’s Le Chien Andalou, and I am reminded of another film that is not for the squeamish: Michael Haneke’s Caché. In it, a couple receives videotapes in the mail of their house, of them sleeping. The film, like this story, never reveals who is behind the missives. Though there are clues, I prefer the interpretation that the videotapes exist independently of a maker, as ontological evidence of their subject. To be watched one must exist, and so when Greer’s mysterious pen pal writes, “Lick your lips as you chop vegetables tonight, lovely lonely lady, and I’ll know it’s a sign,” and inadvertently she does it, the gesture is more than just a communication. It’s a sign that she’s alive.

I could go on, but I’ve already spoiled enough. “Recovery Period” is a tremendous story; why don’t you see for yourself.  


Halimah Marcus
Editor-in-Chief, Recommended Reading


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Support Recommended Reading

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Recovery Period

by Sasha Graybosch

Original Fiction

Recommended by Electric Literature

Get Kindle Get ePub


Sight-wise, Greer had developed a high tolerance for disturbance. Buildings doubling, streetlights smearing into ribbons, cars in the fore twitching against cars in the back, one pigeon appearing as a flock—fine. She could walk. She could still collect the mail, pick up bagels, get about. She learned to sit in the front at the movies, blink longer, take breaks, take the bus. When the world shook and danced at her windows, and she didn’t feel much like dancing, she could pull the blinds, shut her eyes. And Lucien was beside her in the dark.

It began early in the morning after her thirty-fourth birthday, an occasion she commemorated with an all-night jigsaw puzzle. Greer settled the last piece into place and stood, bleary, ready for bed, and noticed, bleeding from the kitchen light and the microwave clock and the hallway lamp, luminous halos. She rubbed her eyes. Bright cores diffused into ghosts. Lucien stirred on the couch, where he’d been sleeping since midnight. “What is it?” he said.

The troubles with her eyes emerged slowly—a faint stretch at the edges of distant words, the occasional wiggle of movement she mistook for a bug. Her glasses lenses were weak, she assumed. Lack of sleep, she thought. The distortions came and went; she often convinced herself she was getting better. The body had a way of sorting itself out.

At times, though, even the television was too much. “Balls gone bad?” Lucien would say when Greer squinted at a commercial. Or, “Eyes going Greer?” Or, “Greery?”

“Very Greery,” she’d say, the screen glaring into a muddle. They would click the show off, push her glasses back and do things up close that didn’t require looking.


Greer had met Lucien on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend, a self-proclaimed matchmaker named George. Greer knew George through cooking club, and George knew Lucien from an addiction recovery support group. George said he had been jogging with his wife along the river when Lucien surfaced in his mind, and then Greer, one figure folding into another. “It was a moment of inspiration,” he told Greer on the phone.

Greer was skeptical. “You met this guy in rehab?”

“That was years ago. You won’t like him at first, so be prepared for that. But I think you’ll be great together. I see how people can fit. He is the trees and you are the forest. He is the spicy pepper and you are the milk. He’s a piece of smoking meat left to burn in a pot, and you’re like a wet towel, or a lid. But not in a bad way.”

Greer decided not to be offended. “Does he have any other issues I should know about?”

“He’s had to work through some things—haven’t we all,” George said, the last phrase like punctuation, “and he’s a good person. Great listener. Not bad looking. His parents are rich, but you can’t hold that against him. I know you’re not judgmental, or all that excitable—that’s why I thought of you. You’re an open spirit, even if it’s not easy to see at first. I already told him about how calm you were when Cynthia hacked her thumb cutting pineapple. How everyone was falling over themselves and you just wrapped her hand up in a kitchen towel, led her out to get stitches.”

Greer was flattered. She realized George thought of her as some kind of stoic, a protector. She’d never thought of herself that way, as the someone who was good for someone. She suddenly felt curious. Open.

Read More

Today’s Recommended Reading is amazing.

Moby-Dick Marathon NYC Returns!

You may know the lovely and oh-so-generous literary citizen Amanda Bullock as the Director of Public Programming at Housing Works Books, but she is also the co-founder and co-organizer of the Moby-Dick Marathon (MDMNYC)! 

This three-day marathon reading of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, will be held in New York City from November 14th - November 16th (Ishmael super-fans may recognize the 14th as the anniversary of the U.S. publication of the book). In the past, over one hundred and fifty people participated in the event, each reading ten-minute segments of the novel. Three independent bookstores around the city hosted the reading: WORD, Molasses Books, and of course the Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe.

This year, MDMNYC hopes to expand their venue options, hire photographers and web designers, print programs in color, and provide their guests with more spoons for clam chowder! And they’re asking (nicely) for your help.

Show your support for this incredible project by backing their Kickstarter campaign! To make donating even more of a no-brainer, the MDMNYC team has also lined up some unreal-cool incentives for anyone who backs this whale of a project. The entire novel in Litograph poster-form? Yes please.

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"Books fall open, you fall in."

— David T.W. McCord (via observando)

"We become the books we read."

— Matthew Kelly (via observando)

This Weekend in Review: The BIG Party for Small Publishers & the 15th Birthday of the Lit Mag Fair

Whew! This weekend was quite the literary whirlwind. Between our BIG Party for Small Publishers and the 15th Annual Lit Mag Fair, we had our hands full—and we wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Saturday

The BIG Party for Small Publishers was held in Brooklyn, at A Public Space's lovely office on Dean Street. (Thank you guys so much for your generosity and open arms! The night wouldn't have been nearly as successful without your support.)

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The party was full of great food. Thanks, 2 Duck Goose—opening in Gowanus soon!

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And there was a kickass cocktail…

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There was even a raffle for subscriptions to FIVE amazing lit mags—Fence, Stonecutter, One Story, the Kenyon Review, and The Common—and a membership to the Poetry Project!  

But most of all, there was great company!

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Thanks for coming, everyone!

Sunday

The Lit Mag Fair turned 15! The festivities were held, as always, at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho. It was a lit lover’s dream. Literary magazines from across the country covered every surface!

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Editors from Bodega, Confrontation, The Literary Review, Rattapallax, and St. Petersburg Review gave one-on-one advice to blossoming writers! Readings were given by lit mag contributors Idra Novey (A Public Space), Aimee Herman (Bone Bouquet), and Camille Rankine (Tin House)!

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A thought-provoking discussion on women in publishing was moderated by Amy King (VIDA)!

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And yes, there was cake!!!

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Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by! We can’t even begin to tell you how much your support means to us and the literary community! We hope you had as much fun as we did, and we hope to see you all again next year!

Firecrackers Coming Back With a Bang!

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Great news! The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses has joined forces with the American Booksellers Association and a team of publishing professionals to revive and re-vamp the Firecracker Awards! This new and improved set of awards will celebrate independent literary publishers and self-published works of high literary merit.

CLMP Executive Director Jeffrey Lependorf says, “New and lasting literature from independent publishers and from self-published authors as well has been moving from the fringes to the middle. We believe the new Firecracker Awards can significantly increase the profile of exceptional, independently produced and self-published books—we want readers to know about the best from the full world of literary book publishing.”

Rest assured: the spirit and liveliness of the old award will be preserved (as in the past, winners will be announced at an unforgettable party). A major difference, however, will be a fully transparent and ethical judging system involving writers, editors, booksellers, and agents. Members of the new Firecracker Committee include representatives from CLMP, ABA, Tin House, Workman Publishing, Random House, Byliner, Greenlight Books, and literary agents, with writers to be added as the planning progresses.

By reviving and re-inventing the Firecracker Awards, CLMP hopes to provide independent literary publishers and exceptional self-published titles with a valuable marketing opportunity that will be meaningful for writers, publishers, booksellers, and readers. The committee intends to announce the first round of Firecracker Awards at BEA 2015. Submissions will be open to publishers and self-published authors starting in the fall of 2014. 

You can sign up for more announcements here.