Moveable Type: Small Beer Press

August 18, 2016

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A conversation with Gavin Grant, Publisher of Small Beer Press

How did Small Beer Press begin? What was the goal when starting the press? I started a zine while I was temping in Boston. My then-girlfriend-now-wife, Kelly Link, started helping out with the second issue. Looking back, publishing chapbooks and the books seems so inevitable from that start. It didn’t feel that way then. The goal was to publish something that I wasn’t quite finding enough of in the world, writing that refracted back to the reader something of the true weirdness of the world, of us monkeys walking on our hind legs on our one little planet, worrying about health insurance and being alone in the universe.

Describe your decision-making process for selecting work to publish. Whatever the term you choose, small press, micro press, indie press, cottage press, boutique press, it comes down to the two of us: if we like a book enough to spend the next couple of years working on it, that’s it. As for selecting what we publish, I am specifically looking for novels and short story collections I have not read before, which may sound odd, but I’m a middle aged white immigrant living in a complex world. I’ve read a lot of fiction and what I’m looking for is perspectives I haven’t seen, or new perspectives on the world as I do or don’t know it.

If your press has an ethos, what is it? To be the very best, to be author friendly, to surprise, delight, inspire, and entertain.

After Small Beer, what’s your favorite writing venue? That’s tough! How about One Story, Tin House, Industrial Lunch, A Public Space, and Graywolf. Sometimes I’d add Twitter and Tumblr. And I really love zines. Sometimes they can be rough around the edges but there can also be a directness of experience in the writing that I appreciate. 

What is your plan for the future of the press? I expect to keep it going unless something extraordinary happens. Hello World! What do you have?


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