Small Press Distribution Seeks Aid, Queensbound Poetry Project Launches New Website, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Small Press Distribution (SPD), a literary nonprofit book distributor that serves nearly four hundred independent publishers in the United States, recently launched a GoFundMe with a fund-raising goal of $100,000 to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. SPD reports that its sales have decreased by more than 60 percent; it is raising money to cover payroll and health insurance for its staff and honor its royalty payments to small presses. As of Thursday morning, the fund had reached $65,000. On April 21, organizer Trisha Low thanked early contributors and wrote, “Every little bit that you contribute will allow SPD some crucial breathing room to maintain current staffing levels for the coming weeks, and some precious time to keep pursuing emergency grants and funds.”

Queensbound, a collaborative poetry project dedicated to showcasing the literary spirit of Queens, New York, has launched a new website. The website pairs audio recordings of poems with local subway stops, and features readings by Nadia Q. Ahmad, Ellen Hagan, and Sweta Srivastava Vikram, among others. “Our goal is to have a poem about each neighborhood in the borough, about 120 stops in all, to be an archive and celebration of the voices of Queens,” says project founder KC Trommer. 

Rick and Becky Riordan have announced a matching gift challenge of $100,000 for the #SaveIndieBookstores campaign, counting donations starting April 22. Launched on April 2, the campaign as a whole has raised more than $750,000. 

As certain states relax social distancing measures, some booksellers are going back to work. Publishers Weekly spoke with Jill Hendrix, the owner of Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina, about her decision to reopen her store

“I have no idea how long it would be before I will once again be able to walk inside the doors of Three Lives and recapture a touchstone of my life.” Mary Billard recalls treasured memories of visits to Three Lives & Company in New York City, and shares how the bookseller is adapting its business during the pandemic. (Vogue)

The latest installment of Electric Literature’s “Can Writing Be Taught?” features fiction writer Kali Fajardo-Anstine, who reflects on her experience as both a student and a teacher

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has appointed Deb Brody vice president and publisher of its adult trade division. Brody succeeds Bruce Nichols, who was recently named publisher of Little, Brown. (Publishers Weekly)

Cheryl A. Wall, an author and literary scholar who championed Black women writers, has died at age seventy-one. (New York Times)

And the Daily Shout-Out goes to Whiting Foundation for its upcoming webinar that will “explore the various kinds of aid available to freelancers and self-employed writers.” The webinar is scheduled for tomorrow, April 24, at 2:00 PM EDT.