Randall Horton's Hook Wins GLCA New Writers Award for 2017

We are incredibly proud to acknowledge that Randall Horton’s Hook has won the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award for 2017 in the category of creative nonfiction. Other titles earning the GLCA New Writers Award this year include Nate Marshall’s Wild Hundreds in the category of poetry, and Charles Boyer’s History’s Child in the category of fiction.

 

As a small press, we consider this recognition a great honor, extending our congratulations to Randall and our gracious thanks to the Great Lakes College Association.

 

Learn more about Hook here.

One Month Left to Apply for the Sarabande Writing Residency

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Located at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Louisville, Kentucky, the Sarabande Writing Residency offers an annual residency to writers of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The residency includes a two-to six-week stay in a private cottage, as well as a $500 travel stipend. Sarabande Books, founded in 1994, publishes works in poetry, short fiction, and essay, hosting about 225 readings, workshops, and lectures per year.

You can learn more about this residency and how to apply at Sarabande Books.

Augury Books’ Reading Period Now Open!

Felice Beato’s hand colored photograph courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Augury Books is delighted to announce that our spring/summer 2015 reading period is now open! For guidelines and general information, please visit our submissions page. If you’re already familiar with our guidelines, click the button below to be redirected to Submittable. We look forward to reading your work!

Augury Books’ Reading Period Approaching

Felice Beato’s hand colored photograph courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Augury Books is happy to announce that our spring/summer 2015 reading period opens for submissions on May 1st! This year we’ll be accepting poetry manuscripts, as well as short fiction collections and creative nonfiction collections. For more on guidelines and submissions head over to our Submittable page. Stay tuned for more updates, and get excited!

Halina Duraj’s The Family Cannon Nominated for CLMP Firecracker Award

From E. Weiß’s Bilderatlas der Sternenwelt (1888), courtesy of the Public Domain Review

The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) released the nominees for their new Firecracker Awards. Inspired by the Firecracker Alternative Book Awards, CLMP’s awards strive to honor and support literary works from independent publishers and self-published writers.

The finalists are divided into six categories: creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, young adult, graphic novels, and literary magazines. Among them is Augury author Halina Duraj for her book of short stories, The Family Cannon. Other finalists across categories include Jeffery Renard AllenMartha Baillie, Bonnie Friedman, Allen Crawford, and Ransom Riggs, as well as several literary magazines, including 6 x 6, A Public Space, and Mosaic. Tin House, Graywolf Press, Ahsahta Press, and Tender Buttons Press are all among the publishers that have titles shortlisted. The winners in each group will be announced on May 27th at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO.

To see the complete shortlists for the Firecracker Awards, view CLMP’s press release.

For more about Halina Duraj and The Family Cannon, click here.

PEN World Voices Festival 2015 Announced

A.J. Bormeester’s Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula (1684), courtesy of the Public Domain Review

The dates and theme for the 11th annual PEN World Voices Festival have recently been announced. From May 4th through May 10th, 100 writers from various countries will come together in NYC to celebrate literature “On Africa.” The 2015 program, co-curated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, seeks to make heard the voices of contemporary African artists. Among the writers being featured are Teju Cole, Edwidge Danticat, Mona Eltahawy, and Alain Mabanckou.

PEN is an international organization dedicated to protecting free expression for writers and expanding a worldwide literary community. Each Spring, they hold their World Voices Festival, chaired by Salman Rushdie, to exhibit the works of writers cross-culturally and to “celebrate the written word.” To learn about or get involved with PEN, explore their website.

Diana Spechler Starts "Going Off" Column for The New York Times

Ernst Haeckel’s Radiolaria (1862), courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Augury friend Diana Spechler has recently begun a weekly column for The New York Times’ Opinionator entitled “Going Off.” In this series, she recounts her experiences while coming off of the prescription medications she uses to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Diana sat down with Augury assistant editor Nicolas Amara to talk about the new column.

Augury Books: What has the initial response to “Going Off” been like?

Diana Spechler: A lot of advice. A lot of people sharing their own stories. Some thank you notes. Some anger–that I’m not coming out as staunchly anti-meds or staunchly pro-meds. I love it. All of it. What’s clear to me from the response and what was clear to me before I started the column, is that in 2015 psychiatric medications are still a taboo; now that I’m writing about them in the New York Times, in this very candid way, people are dying to talk. For some reason, we’re supposed to hide our psychiatric disorders and treatments. We’re supposed to feel embarrassed about them. That’s silly. There’s this story a guy once told me, probably seven or eight years ago, that’s always stuck with me: He went out with a woman and was turned off because he found antidepressants in her medicine cabinet. He relayed this information to me to explain why he never called her again. I told him, “You have to be kidding.” For one thing, what was he doing in her medicine cabinet? For another thing, turned off by her medication–her efforts to be healthy and happy? Jeez. Tough crowd! Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America. Chances are, you know a lot of people on antidepressants and benzos and sleeping pills and mood stabilizers. Great. We’re all on drugs. Now let’s talk.

A: Did you ever feel nervous about running the column?

D: I was terrified before I started. Even after I started, I was terrified. I had a couple of bad days when the first piece ran. I felt so exposed. I felt like I was mooning the world. But it’s worth it for me to do this, to be as honest and open and straightforward as possible. It’s still scary, but now that I have this platform, I feel intense responsibility: I have a voice; I need to use it. I’m grateful to have public support through such a brutal process. Most people getting off their meds have one or two people to talk to, or they have no one. I’m extremely lucky and I never forget that.

A: Do you think the sort of writing you’re doing helps de-stigmatize depression?

D: That’s the idea. I don’t like any topics to be off-limits. I want to talk about everything. I want everyone to tell me everything, too. You know how people cover their ears and say, “TMI! TMI!”? There’s no such thing as TMI to me. If you’re insanely jealous of someone, or if you’ve stalked someone, or if you have a rash on your genitals, I totally want to know about it. I’m not above talking about my exes on a first date, either. We have all these pointless rules. It’s not hurting anyone if I talk about my period, if I talk about my panic attacks, if I talk about my medication. What are we, Puritans? I hope to help others feel less ashamed.

To read “Going Off,” click here.

More on Diana Spechler

Finalists For Lambda Literary Awards Announced

From Baude Cordier’s “Belle, bonne, sage” (1350-1400), courtesy of the Public Domain Review

The finalists for the 27th annual Lambda Literary Awards have been announced. The Lambda Literary Awards honor the best LBGTQ literature of the year in 24 categories, including fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Among the nominees for 2015 is Augury friend Shelly Oria. Other noteworthy finalists include Ana Castillo, Tom Spanbauer, Danez Smith, Lenelle Moïse, and La JohnJoseph. The winners will be declared at the awards ceremony on Monday, June 1st in New York City.

For the complete list of finalists and their works, visit the Lambda Literary Awards website.

"Pick-Your-Price" Sale at Brooklyn Arts Press

From Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863), courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Effective until March 7th, Brooklyn Arts Press is holding a “Pick-Your-Price” sale on Noah Eli Gordon‘s The Word Kingdom in the Word KingdomThis deal allows book buyers to purchase one copy of Gordon’s book at the price of their choosing (plus $5 for shipping). Brooklyn Arts Press is an independent publishing house dedicated to publishing the poetry, fiction, and nonfiction of upcoming artists. Joe Pan, their managing editor and publisher, has a collection of poetry forthcoming from Augury in 2015.

For more on the “Pick-Your-Price” sale, visit their site.

An Excerpt From "Letters to Lxxxx" by Randall Horton, Augury Books’ 2015 Prose Selection

Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Dear Lxxxx,

We script our lives on reaction rather than action, meaning our daily life is always in response to, or a reply to, a command or demand. The world uses us in that way—we are the backsided-brainwash of society’s failure—the aftersound of oppression, but we know this maxim, and yet become willing participants to our own commodification. The world does this to us—holds us down. Then too, I’ve been thinking about the question you pose with regards to women and believing. Perhaps images and how we nurture young women as a society creates this insecurity. The American Dream chokes little girl’s dreams insomuch as not all of them will be able to live up to ideal beauty as constructed by benefactors of the dominant narrative, or those who dictate the ebb and flow of how we live. Beauty is a dangerous thing, and understand, Brown and Black women historically bear the weight of civilization, in addition to their own weight, which, at times, can be daunting. But more than that, the male plays a role in this insecurity, especially in these so-called streets, by his rejection of the woman as equal counterpart and anything other than “sexual object.” We just wanna love and have some warm body love us back—objectification is a delicate balance.

In other words, I saw it play out often with men who dominated women to the point they broke their spirit and stole their sound. The women couldn’t speak of their own oppression because they had no language to express the unimaginable, reminding me of Pudding and Sunshine who prostituted. Pudding was her abuser wrapped in a six-foot frame complete with a gold tooth. Sunshine adored Pudding so much she strolled around Logan Circle in DC every night selling the one commodity she knew well, and that was her[self]. Here’s the oxymoron: Sunshine never saw the light. Darkness choked her to death. She never got to understand we are the shadows in the dark novelist Toni Morrison talks about. We play between histories. Our sound originates from the breaking of sound—and then again. Like life, language is only the beginning and perhaps in its death, too, comes a new beginning, a new language.

At any moment I am inside your peripheral vision, imagining with exact description, the six by nine cell you sleep in, in all its isolation because this is, indeed, something I can reinvent from memory. The gray cinderblock serving as the prison’s architectural foundation is always already present. The dull silver ambiance from the metal toilet emits a lackluster glow. Blue could be the sky’s temperament on a November day when the fading brown leaves, that once seemed verdant, swirl from trees nowhere in sight as you struggle to breathe free air. Lxxxx, I have been thinking long and hard with regards to confinement, and the bordering of color, and how we as a society have imprisoned ourselves within the complexity of skin, as if human survival depends on this one specific thing.

Of course, I could make a conscious effort to avoid color or not invade your personal space trying to make a parallelism, but history can be unforgiving in how the past (re)constructs the future, whether we acknowledge it or not. For some reason, I feel our histories and futures intersect insomuch as we come from the same memory. In other words, I have inhabited the cell door clang, and I can’t ever escape that stagnant image of the pinstripe inmate constructed. There it is again, that word: construct or construction, which is another word for confinement on someone else’s term, a sort of deliberate scaffolding of a misguided structure. If I could go back to that initial moment after the formulation of earth—I’m talking about the first glorious sunrise after the Big Bang. Have you ever wondered what that feeling could have been like? If only someone could have been present after the bang—the explosion of particle-antiparticle into space-universal—suspended liquefied darkness. In the beginning a delayed oceanic swirl lacked blue, foliage lacked green—: construction had not begun. If only someone could have stopped progress at that precise moment. To see something neoteric and novel coming off the horizon must’ve been glory hallelujah.

Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a member of The Symphony: The House that Etheridge Built. Randall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Haven. An excerpt from his memoir titled Roxbury is published by Kattywompus Press. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press is the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy.