MISSION, VISION AND VALUES
Our mission is to connect readers with independent literature and the authors and publishers of this relevant and vitalizing work.
As motivation for our programming, APRIL envisions:
an increase in readers seeking out writing that is new and pertinent to them—writing that takes chances in both publication and performance and has greater potential for relevance in their lives;
readers actively reconsidering their definition of literature, its forms and its position in the arts;
independent literary producers—authors, publishers and writers of all kinds—thriving, with increased publicity and heightened reader engagement;
a reading public connecting as a more interactive social body—one that encourages creation and collaboration.
literature as an indispensable element of our shared culture;
writing that takes risks, strikes out on a new path, negotiates from its own rubric, and speaks to a greater need;
the multiplicity of today’s literary arts–how literature manifests itself in books, online, hand-crafted chapbooks, zines, collaborative writing projects, conceptual readings, interpretive performances, and more;
creative possibility as a quality that sustains the literary arts and encourages growth;
unique, personal, and meaningful literary experiences that feed enthusiasm and promote active engagement and literacy;
communication as a crucial and gratifying element of human interaction.
WHAT IS INDEPENDENT LITERATURE
Independent Literature can be defined in a number of ways and, like most things that are at once distinct and immensely broad, none of these definitions are sufficient.
We believe independent literature is writing created and disseminated principally on the basis of its artistic merit. It is work that is free from mainstream constraints. Independent literature is ready to negotiate the publishing world on its own terms; it hasn’t been altered or packaged to sell to a specific market.
When selecting the authors, publishers and work that APRIL will highlight, we took a lot of things into consideration. Primarily, we want to adhere to the definition laid out about: writing that galvanizes the reading public and encourages their reexamination of the definition and possibility of literature.
Independent Lit enthusiasts can quibble over the Big Six—large, incorporated publishing houses with multiple imprints apiece—but we feel that these houses often do bring relevant, brilliant work to the public. They’re a necessary part of the publishing ecosystem—one, however, that we won’t be highlighting. Our festival isn’t one of preclusion, though, and any author or publisher with strong ties to the independent publishing community, regardless of where they’ve been published before or since, is welcome, and encouraged to join us.
Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature (APRIL)’s earliest incarnation was 2010’s Pilot Books Small Press Book Fest—a month of 31 readings in the tiny Capitol Hill bookstore, all organized by Summer Robinson, Pilot’s owner and proprietor and one of APRIL’s founding members.
Last year, again as part of Pilot Books, Summer took on Tara Atkinson and Willie Fitzgerald, changed the festival’s name and put on Small Press Festival (SPF). SPF was comprised of 10 events from March 14 to April 16, including parties, readings in art galleries and former high school classrooms, a chapbook-making workshop, a book expo at the Richard Hugo House and a lot more. It was a resounding success, and we’re eternally grateful for all of the people who made SPF possible last year. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Soon after SPF ended, Pilot Books had to close its doors. It was a blow to the literary community, but we’ve vowed to keep the spirit of Pilot Books—all independent literature, all the time—alive in APRIL. It’s been a busy three years: three name changes, so many great venues, so much relevant and exciting writing. We’re looking forward to the next three and beyond.