Awards: Nomadic Press Wins CLMP’s Inaugural Constellation Award

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Nomadic Press, the publisher winning the first Constellation Award, is based in California and publishes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Von Schilling: To ‘Enrich and Diversify Our Literary Culture’
Announced by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), its new Constellation Award goes to the California-based Nomadic Press.

The new prize, with a purse of US$10,000, takes submissions in English and Spanish, and this year’s finalists are based in Texas, Indiana, and Puerto Rico.

The program is designed to honor an independent literary press led by and/or championing the writing of people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander writers.

The Constellation Award was launched in 2021 by CLMP and is part of Penguin Random House’s social-outreach programming. PRH’s commitment is to underwrite the new award for its first two years.

Nomadic Press: 15 to 25 Books Annually

In a statement for the award’s announcement, Claire von Schilling, PRH’s executive vice-president for corporate communications and social responsibility, is quoted, saying, “In partnership with CLMP, we’re thrilled to support Nomadic Press and their important work championing BIPOC [Black and Indigenous people of color] writers through this well-deserved honor.

Claire von Schilling

“We look forward to continuing to partner with CLMP to bolster the independent presses that enrich and diversify our literary culture.”

Established in 2011, Nomadic Press publishes 15 to 25 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction each year, including books for children. Its intent is to build community among artists and across disciplines through open workspaces and events.

As part of its “safe space statement,” Nomadic writes, “We are works in progress, continually doing the work of internally dismantling white supremacist values that have been inherited by virtue of being in the US. Simultaneous with this internal work, Nomadic Press utilizes a racial equity lens to dismantle white supremacy within publishing and the literary communities in which we work. We are not perfect, and we are always trying to be better.”

This year, the press expects to publish Martian: The Saint of Loneliness by James Cagney, which received the 2021 James Laughlin Award given by the Academy of American Poets. In addition, there are 22 books by authors of color scheduled for release this year.

JK Fowler

In a statement on Nomadic’s win of the new award, JK Fowler, the founding executive director of the company, says, “We’re honored to be the recipients of the inaugural Constellation Award and humbled to be in the company of other presses that we admire so much.

“We look forward to continuing to build together in the years to come.”

The judges for this year’s award were Marie Brown, Sandra Guzman, Beena Kamlani, Deborah Paredez, and Clarence Reynolds.

An advisory panel helped establish the Constellation Award and comprised CLMP board members:

  • Beena Kamlani, author and freelance editor
  • Clarence Reynolds, director of The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College CUNY
  • Deborah Paredez, author, co-founder of CantoMundo, and associate professor at Columbia University

The panel also included:

  • Ibrahim Ahmed, executive editor at Viking Penguin
  • Literary agent and publishing consultant Marie Brown
  • Author, editor, and filmmaker Sandra Guzman
  • Poet and arts administrator Nicole Sealey

More on CLMP and its work is here.


More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book awards programs is here, more from us on CLMP is here, and more on independent publishers is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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