Coffee House Press Named Small Press Publisher of the Year
February 17, 2017
Minnesota independent publisher Coffee House received AWP’s Small Press Publisher Award at the 50th Anniversary Gala during the 2017 Conference & Bookfair. The nonprofit press, founded in 1972, won for “their Books in Action program and publications,” Board of Trustees Chairman David Haynes said announcing the award. “They’ve become interdisciplinary collaborators and incubators for new work and audience experiences. Their vision for the future is one where a publisher is a catalyst and connector.”
Caroline Casey, Managing Director of Coffee House Press, accepted the award on behalf of the press. She remarked, “Our founding publisher, Allan Kornblum, believed so strongly in the value of these gatherings and the possibilities that arise when people who care about literature and not just selling books come together. Allan passed away two years ago but his spirit infuses everything we do, so we’d like to dedicate this award to him.”
Casey added, “It is imperative at this moment for us to thank the NEA and their support for both publishers and individual writers. So many people in this room would not have had the life and career that they have had without the decades-long support the NEA has offered to writers.”
Coffee House Publisher Chris Fischbach said in a statement to AWP: “We are incredibly honored to win this year’s award. We’ve been attending AWP for at least twenty-five years, and in many ways, we’ve gown up along with them. Our founder, Allan Kornblum, loved the show, loved meeting our readers face-to-face, spending time with writers, teachers, and students. That love carries on in our current team.”
The finalists for the award were Belladonna* and CavanKerry Press.
The AWP Small Press Publisher Award was established in 2012 as an annual prize for nonprofit presses and literary journals. The award recognizes the important role such organizations play in publishing creative works and introducing new authors to the reading public. It acknowledges the hard work, creativity, and innovation of the presses and journals, and honors their contributions to the literary landscape through their publication of consistently excellent work.
The award includes a $2,000 honorarium and a complimentary exhibit booth to the 2018 conference and bookfair in Tampa, Florida. In even years, the award is given to a journal, and in odd years, to a press.
The judges for the 2017 AWP Small Press Publisher Award were Stephanie Elliott Prieto from Wesleyan University Press, Carmen Giménez Smith from Noemi Press and Puerto del Sol, and Stephen Motika from Nightboat Books and Poets House.
Photo caption: Caroline Casey, Coffee House Managing Director, accepting the award