Book It: Small Press Saturday @ Newtonville Books


On Saturday, the independent publishers Hanging Loose Press, Last Light Studio, Madras Press, McSweeney's, Melville House, and Muumuu House will set up shop at Newtonville Books in an event known as Small Press Saturday. Chris Boucher, Ellen Kennedy, Mark Pawlak, and Jane Roper will read from their small press titles. Sumanth Prabhaker, the founder of Madras Press, organized the event. I emailed him to find out more.

How did Small Press Saturday come to be?

Jaime Clarke at Newtonville Books invited me to organize the event this year, along with the literary magazine fair that was held there a few weeks ago.  He's surprisingly keen on events like this for someone who needs money to live -- Newtonville Books regularly hosts some really amazing events to promote lesser-known presses and journals that probably wouldn't otherwise have as much of a presence around here.

The fair is held twice every year, so that gives smaller presses a venue they can count on to show off their new work regularly, and there's been some amazing work produced by small presses this year.  It gives readers a chance to meet not only the authors they love but the editorial staffs responsible for bringing those authors to their attention.  If nothing else, it's another excuse to wander around the store.

How's the small press scene here in Boston? What are some of the publishers our readers should know about?
It's pretty great, I'd say.  I have so much respect for Concord Free Press and Small Beer Press, not only for the work they produce but also for the ways in which that work is produced -- they're both committed in very different ways to providing content to readers at no cost, but at the same time they both produce books that are really nice to look at and hold.  I guess none of them are exactly in the city, but they're closer than NYC...

What's new with Madras Press?
Four new books, out in January or February -- Kevin Brockmeier, Hannah Abrams (winner of the 2010 Rona Jaffe award), Gregory Maguire, and a book by Kelly Link with illustrations by a lot of other people.

Can you recommend any small press titles you've enjoyed recently?

I really like Lisa Wells's book (essays and a story) yeah. no. totally. which is the first title to be released by Perfect Day Publishing in Portland. It's sort of about Portland, except for the story, which is more like about this lady.  Not new but kind of new, I like Melville House's edition of Bartleby the Scrivener, which is the perfect container for that story. And of course Edith Pearlman's collection Binocular Vision, which is just great.

SMALL PRESS SATURDAY | Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut St., Newtonville | November 5 @ 2pm | free | 617.244.6619 or

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