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2021 Indie Lit Fair, Vol. III: Reckoning and Reconciliation

White flower on left; text in center: “Indie Lit Fair. Vol 3: Reckoning and Reconciliation.” PEN World Voices Festival and CLMP logos on right

A desire to summon the powers of the radical imagination and literature as gateways to reckoning and reconciliation.

“CLMP, the only nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to supporting independent literary magazines and presses, is thrilled to present the 2021 Indie Lit Fair, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. This year, we offer a virtual showcase of magazines and books published by independent literary publishers from across the country that resonate with the festival’s theme, ‘Power to the People.’ We hope you’ll be inspired to read, share, and buy these titles, which represent the vital role indie lit publishers play in our culture by connecting the greatest diversity of distinctive writers to equally diverse communities of readers.”
—Mary Gannon, Executive Director, CLMP

22 Under 22: Young People Speak!

Flexible Press, 2020
This anthology—edited by Abby Doty, Madelaine Formica, and Kayla Gray—collects writing by 22 people under the age of 22, each “coming of age in a time of open racism, hate, and xenophobia in the streets and from our leaders” and “speaking up about what they believe, what they want, and what keeps them going.”

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22 Under 22 book cover

Alta Magazine

Founded in 2017
A quarterly publication, Alta “demystifies and illuminates California and the West,” offering essays, reported pieces, original fiction, cultural reviews, photography portfolios, and more that examine “this compelling and complex region through a much-needed literary lens.” The latest issue, Issue 15: The Next West, celebrates “the people—and ideas—shaping our future.”

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“The Next West” issue cover of Alta Magazine

Antiman, Rajiv Mohabir

Restless Books, 2021
Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Mohabir’s memoir is “a portrait of an artist who comes into his own as a poet and as a queer brown man through the songs of his unlettered grandmother” that asks “how we can find survival and collective power by refusing silence.”

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Antiman book cover

Cars on Fire, Mónica Ramón Ríos

Open Letter Books, 2020
The stories in this English-language debut “offer powerful remembrances to those lost to violence, and ultimately make the case for the power of art, love, and feminine desire to subvert the oppressive forces—xenophobia, neoliberalism, social hierarchies within the academic world—that shape life in Chile and the United States.”

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Cars on Fire book cover

The Complete Works of Pat Parker

Sinister Wisdom, 2016
According to Alexis De Veaux, The Complete Works of Pat Parker—edited by Julie R. Enszer and with an introduction by Judy Grahn—is “an opportunity to historicize Pat Parker’s significance to black women’s literary traditions, lesbian erotics, to black queer struggles and black feminism, and to global social justice movements.”

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The Complete Works of Pat Parker book cover

Creative Nonfiction

Founded in 1993
Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Creative Nonfiction is a print literary magazine operating under “the firm belief that crafting and sharing true stories based on real-world experiences is one of the most powerful tools humans have for fostering empathy, communicating information, and changing ourselves, our culture, and the world.” The current issue, #75, is a retrospective featuring prize-winning essays by contributors including Brian Doyle, Judith Kitchen, Joe Fassler, Sonya Huber, and Emily Bernard.

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Issue 75 cover of Creative Nonfiction

Demystifications, Miranda Mellis

Solid Objects, 2021
Mellis’s latest poetry collection, which “presents a utopian societal vision,” is “a circle of voices engaged in a public conversation whose subject is the transformation of knowledge into a collective organ.” In the poems, she asks, “What is the social command? Who hears it, and what do they hear?”

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Demystrifications book cover

Guernica

Founded in 2004
An online magazine “focused on the intersection of arts and politics” and seeking “to feature singular perspectives on the critical issues facing our world today,” Guernica publishes poetry, fiction, memoir, reporting, interviews, and more “exploring identity, conflict, culture, justice, science, and beyond.”

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Guernica issue cover

Illustration by Pedro Gomes

Guernica logo

How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America

Haymarket Books, 2020
Edited by Sara Sinclair, this anthology “shares contemporary Indigenous stories in the long and ongoing fight to protect Native land and life”—including from Jasilyn Charger, one of the first five people to set up camp at Standing Rock; Gladys Radek, a family advocate for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and other stories “shaped by loss, injustice, resilience, and the struggle to share space with settler nations.”

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How We Go Home book cover

Last of Her Name, Mimi Lok

Kaya Press, 2019
Winner of the 2020 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, Lok’s literary debut is “an eye-opening story collection about the intimate, interconnected lives of diasporic women and the histories they are born into.” According to Rachel Khong, these are “assured and keenly observed stories about the devastations—large and small—that transpire between people.”

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Last of Her Name book cover

Letters to a Young Brown Girl, Barbara Jane Reyes

BOA Editions, 2020
Reyes “answers the questions of Filipino American girls and young women of color with bold affirmations of hard-won empathy, fierce intelligence, and a fine-tuned B.S. detector” in this new poetry collection that “exposes the sensitive nerve-endings of life under patriarchy as a visible immigrant woman of color as she reaches towards her unflinching center.”

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Letters to a Young Brown Girl book cover

Not Go Away Is My Name, Alberto Ríos

Copper Canyon Press, 2020
In his sixteenth book—in which “resistance and persistence collide” and the “borderline between Mexico and the U.S. looms large” —Ríos explores everyday objects and family memories as well as “past and present, changing and unchanging, letting go and holding on.”

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Not Go Away Is My Name book cover

Oxford American

Founded in 1992
Published by The Oxford American Literary Project, Inc., in alliance with the University of Central Arkansas, Oxford American celebrates and examines the complexities of the American South and features “deep stories from diverse voices.” The most recent issue, Issue 112: The Food Issue, was guest-edited by Alice Randall and centers “the Southern kitchen in the African diaspora, and in conversation with other arts.”

Read the Latest Issue »

“The Food Issue” cover of Oxford American

The River Always Wins: Water as a Metaphor for Hope and Progress, David Marquis

Deep Vellum Publishing, 2020
Based on the author’s experiences as an environmental activist, this arts-based meditation on water as metaphor for social change is, according to Cynthia Seale, a reminder “that just like the water in the river that is, we as humanity are becoming. Rising up and reborn as headwaters, collectively flowing through rapids, over sandbars and around fallen trees, we are, nevertheless, moving towards the greater good—shaping the rock and transforming hearts along the way.”

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The River Always Wins book cover

Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty: Affirmations for the Real World, Hana Shafi

Book*hug Press, 2020
Built around art from Shafi’s popular online affirmation series and drawing on her experience as a millennial woman of color, Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty “focuses on our common and never-ending journey of self-discovery” and “explores the ways in which the world can all too often wear us down, and reminds us to remember our worth, even when it’s hard to do so.”

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Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty book cover

The Solar Grid, Ganzeer

Radix Media, 2021
A serialized graphic novel that “unpacks the failures of capitalism, impending climate catastrophe, lack of government accountability, and police brutality,” The Solar Grid “believes in the power of small, dedicated efforts to overthrow establishments, even if the resistance sometimes takes years to bear fruit.”

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The Solar Grid book cover

Something Involving A Mailbox! (SIAMB)

Relaunched in 2020
Something Involving A Mailbox! (SIAMB), based in Covelo, CA, has recently transitioned from a zine format to a perfect-bound, book-length issue. The theme for the first issue of this new redesign, Issue 7, was “Through,” “inspired by moving through the pandemic, and recognizing there were a plethora of other dimensions in which a piece may relate” to the theme. SIAMB divides all sales profits into shares to its contributors, many of whom together donated their Issue 7 shares to four indigenous organizations.

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“Through” issue cover of Something Involving a Mailbox!

The Theory of Flight, Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu

Catalyst Press, 2021
This novel, which Publishers Weekly called “a transcendent and powerful testament to the indomitable human spirit,” is set in an unnamed country in Southern Africa and “sketches decades of national history—from colonial occupation through the freedom struggle, to the devastation wrought by the sojas and the HIV virus.”

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The Theory of Flight book cover

The Triumph of Crowds, Brigid McLeer

Litmus Press, 2019
In her invented form of the “distributed performance lecture,” McLeer “undertakes an aesthetic experiment in leveling the structured spaces in which political discourse and actions occur,” asking the question “What does it mean to appear politically?” and exploring “the politics of public assembly, protest, and becoming ‘us.’”

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The Triumph of Crowds book cover

Words Without Borders

Founded in 2003
A monthly online literary magazine, Words Without Borders “expands cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of the finest contemporary international literature.” Recent issues include The Indigenous Writing Project: Contemporary Guaraní Poetry, Coming into Focus: Sudanese Women Writers, and International Black Voices on Race and Racism. The current issue, Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania, is guest-edited by July Blalack and presents Mauritanian fiction and poetry in translation.

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Words Without Borders issue cover

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