April started off with a bang thanks to AWP 2016 in Los Angeles, but you can keep celebrating independent and university presses all month long with these 10 fantastic books, most of which we’ll be covering here at the CHIRB via interviews and reviews. From magical realism to nonfiction, here are the best 10 books from independent presses this April, including their first lines.
This September, Gina Frangello’s new Chicago-based novel Every Kind of Wanting will be published by Counterpoint Press, and we’ve got an exclusive first look at the minimalist cover. It’s quite the contrast from The Rumpus Sunday editor’s last book, 2014’s A Life in Men.
Jo Marchant is no ordinary scientist, having written on everything from the future of genetic engineering to understanding archaeology for New Scientist, Nature, the Guardian, and Smithsonian. Last month, I spoke with Marchant about her most recent book, Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body, which provides an in-depth, eye-opening look at the mind-body connection.
“Dress to kill” for the 2016 Edgar Awards, says the Mystery Writers of America. This year’s ceremony (named after Edgar Allan Poe) on April 28 in New York boasts a shortlist of nearly 50 nominated novels, short stories, nonfiction books, and TV episodes for a grand total of 14 awards. One of the five books nominated in the Best Juvenile category is Matthew Baker’s If You Find This, his debut middle grade novel released last March.
The brutal Middle Passage across the Atlantic is one of the most painful chapters in the history of forced African American migration. Thus Aracelis Girmay’s new poetry collection, The Black Maria—a haunting, blistering, vital examination of the African diaspora from 15th-century slave ships to Neil deGrasse Tyson—is a book of memories and seas.
There’s a fugitive hiding somewhere in the tiny rust-belt town of Lomath, Pennsylvania. The FBI wants to find him, and they’re not just, like, looking around. They’ve shut down every road in and out of town, turned off electricity and phone lines, and searched houses without warrants. Believe it or not, this is not everybody’s favorite thing.
Rina Garcia Chua is the editor of Sustaining the Archipelago: An Anthology of Philippine Ecopoetry, the first-ever ecopoetics anthology in the Philippines, which will be released later this year by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, a Manila-based university press.
For the first time ever, a picture book won the 2016 Newbery Medal for “the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year.” Also for the first time, a Hispanic writer took home the award—Brooklyn’s Matt de la Peña, author of Last Stop of Market Street. Illustrated by Christian Robinson, it’s the story of an African-American boy and his grandmother finding beauty in their surroundings as they ride a bus through a gritty cityscape.
In 2011, Saudi Arabian novelist Raja Alem became the first woman to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for The Dove’s Necklace. However, the news was met with controversy and skepticism, since Alem was also the first co-winner of the award, along with Moroccan writer Achaari.