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Small Press Spotlight: SARABANDE BOOKS

Sarabande Books is a Kentucky-based press that focuses on poetry, short fiction and literary nonfiction. Among the works that they have published this year is The Name of the Nearest River, a short story collection by Alex Taylor which I reviewed yesterday. I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Caroline from Sarabande Books and learn a little more about the work they do there.


I asked Caroline to summarize Sarabande Books and their work, and her written response says it best. She reports, "Sarabande Books, Inc. was founded to publish poetry, short fiction, and literary nonfiction; to disburse these works with diligence and integrity; and to serve as an educational resource for readers, students, and teachers of creative writing. Sarabande strives to make its programs and services accessible to all."

Sarabande is always on the lookout for top quality literature and new voices. "We acquire manuscripts by several means, says Caroline, "our literary contests (The Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction), open submission seasons in September (general) and July (Kentucky writers), letters of invitation, and recommendations by other writers." The press was founded in 1994 and its first titles appeared in early 1996. They also publish an educational newsletter, The Sarabandista. Sarabande Books currently has more than 140 titles under contract or in print. "Reviews have been plentiful and favorable," says Caroline, a credit to the quality of work that they produce. She continues, "We are committed to producing beautiful, lasting editions that honor good writing and remain in print."

Sarabande titles are distributed by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution. Authors conduct numerous lectures and readings, and Sarabande staff members regularly offer workshops in publishing and creative writing. Caroline estimates that Sarabande has a national audience of approximately 70,000 readers. Not bad for a small nonprofit! "Our core readers are a diverse group of students, teachers, writers, literature lovers, arts administrators, booksellers, and library visitors," she says. "We are always dreaming up ways to find new audiences."


Ready to get started reading Sarabande titles? When asked about current or upcoming titles that really capture the type of work that Sarabande does, Caroline recommended this reading list:


Alex Taylor, The Name of the Nearest River

Kiki Petrosino, Fort Red Border


Ryan Van Meter, If You Knew Then What I Know Now

Mark Jarman, Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems

Caitlin Horrocks, This Is Not Your City


As mentioned above, some of Sarabande's titles are acquired in the form of literary prizes. Here's what Caroline had to say about the literary prizes offered by Sarabande Books: "The Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction have readings periods from January 1 through February 15. This year’s winners are David Hernandez, Hoodwinked, for the Morton, and Michael J. Lee, Something In My Eye, for the McCarthy. We’re switching to electronic submissions this year, beginning in July with the Linda Bruckheimer Prize in Kentucky Literature. This is a new venture for us, but we hope the new format will streamline the process and allow more interested writers to participate." More information about these prizes and past winners can be found on their web site (link below).


Sarabande's home on the web is at You can also connect with them on both Twitter and Facebook:



They also maintain a blog called ENDPAPERS. It can be read and followed at this link.


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