Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature, or APRIL, is a week-long festival in Seattle celebrating small press and independent literature.
Some of the most innovative and important writing today comes out of independent publishing houses and the authors and poets who write for them. These writers and publishers deserve greater publicity and exposure. Today's readers also need to know about contemporary writing that speaks directly to them and challenges them to redefine what "literature" is and can be.
The written word is alive and vibrant today in independent literature; it's our mission to connect readers with the authors and publishers of this relevant and vitalizing work.
For this year's festival, the first under the APRIL moniker, we're planning several readings, social events, a chapbook making workshop, a competitive story-telling event (with drag queens!), an all-indie press book fair and much more. It'll be more than a week (March 22 - 31; and yes, a festival named APRIL is taking place in March) of fantastic writing throughout Seattle -- the literary festival our city has been waiting for for years.
We can't make the above programming happen without your immensely generous support. We'd use your donations to secure venues for our programming, fly readers in from out of town and print publicity materials. The money would also cover the myriad minor costs that accrue during an event of this kind, such as hospitality and various licenses required by the city.
Please consider donating. We've worked hard to create a set of fabulous rewards, listed at right, but the one we're most excited about is our "Reverse Fan Mail." If you pledge $35 or more, we'll send your name to one of our favorite small press authors, who will write a short original composition with your name as its inspiration. We have an amazing cast of writers who've agreed to donate their work to our festival, and thus to you, including:
- Matthew Rohrer
- Chelsea Martin
- Mike Young
- Matthew Simmons
- Shaelyn Smith
- Richard Chiem
- James Yeh
- Riley Michael Parker
- Liana Imam
- Sarah Galvin
- Diana Salier
We'll randomly assign your name to one of these authors and a month or so later, you'll receive a typed copy of your story or poem via snail mail. That print copy will be the only one in existence. If you and the author both agree to it, we'll also publish the story or poem you inspired to our website, where it will sit next to other donor-inspired pieces. It's like subscribing to a journal, and seeing your name in the very first issue. "Reverse Fan Mail" is a project that we feel speaks directly to our mission: connecting readers directly with fantastic writers.
For a larger donation, we'll also write a "Reader Profile" on you, and post it to our website alongside the authors and publishers we're celebrating. We want to know what makes you tick as a reader--why do you read? What do you think makes great writing? Think of it as your very own magazine feature. We're committed not just to the producers of independent literature but to its readers as well.
APRIL started at Pilot Books, the last all-independent press bookstore in Seattle. In 2010, Pilot organized Small Press Bookfest, which featured more than 30 readings throughout the month of March.
In 2011, Small Press Bookfest became Small Press Festival, or SPF. SPF expanded outside of the bookstore and featured parties, readings, a chapbook-making workshop and an independent press publishing expo.
In June of 2011, Pilot Books had to close. It was a sad end to one of the most important literary places in Seattle. Equal parts clubhouse, reading venue, writing group location and talent incubator, Pilot Books meant so much to so many readers and writers. We're taking the spirit that propelled Pilot -- a spirit of embracing original, new and undiscovered literary work, and making it the focus of our festival. Like Pilot, we focus on all independent press writing, all the time, and like Pilot we aim to be locus of a literary community that needs and deserves one.
We put SPF 2011 together with little time and less money--so much good happened because of people's donations of money, space, words and time. We want to make APRIL bigger and better, in order to serve the publishers, authors and readers of Seattle and beyond.
Thanks for reading, and we hope to meet you sometime in the coming months.
- (35 days)