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ACLU donations at our AWP table

The 2017 AWP Conference is just a couple days away. We’ll be exhibiting at table 548-T, and we’re co-hosting an off-site event on Thursday, February 9th.

This year’s conference is in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, a few blocks from the convention center, a misygonistic xenophone sits in the white house. Consequently, this year’s AWP must be about more than schmoozing and afterparties.

We’re a socially responsible publisher, and we typically donate copies of our print-runs to charities like Housing Works Bookstore Cafe and Open Books. At this year’s AWP Conference, we’re going a step further. We are donating 10% of all AWP sales to the American Civil Liberties Union. Just a couple weeks into the Trump presidency, and the ACLU has already challenged the Trump administration’s actions in court. The ACLU has along history of demanding equal rights and fighting for our basic feedoms, and we’re proud to offer whatever support we can.

On a related note, we hope you’ll consider attending Saturday’s Candlelight Vigil for Free Speech. The vigil will take place at Lafayette Park, directly across from the White House. It is just a short walk from the convention center. The vigil starts at 6:15pm. Hand-held signs only and no large bags allowed (leave that AWP tote bag in your hotel room). Speakers include Kazim Ali, Gabrielle Bellot, Melissa Febos, Carolyn Forché, Ross Gay, Luis J. Rodriguez, and Eric Sasson.

If you know of any other vigils, protests, or other political events taking place during the AWP Conference, please e-mail us with the details.

Matt Tompkins talks about “Souvenirs” donations to Open Books

Conium Press is a socially responsible publisher. Among other things, that means we give back to the community. A portion of every print-run goes to charity. In the past, our managing editor has decided where the donated copies wind up. This time around, we thought we’d give the author a voice in the matter.

We asked Matt Tompkins to designate a charity to receive free copies of Souvenirs and Other Stories, and he selected Open Books in Chicago, IL. We mailed the donated copies earlier today, and they should reach Open Books within a couple days! This particular organization resells books in their nonprofit storefront to support their literacy programs; they also distribute books directly to Chicago area schools and other local charities. Here’s what Matt had to say about his choice:

I’ve chosen to donate copies of Souvenirs and Other Stories to Open Books in Chicago, because their multifold mission includes two things very close to my heart: browseable, brick-and-mortar bookstores; and literacy education. Having spent a year as an AmeriCorps literacy tutor, I’ve seen firsthand evidence of the acute need for additional reading and writing instruction for many of our country’s primary school students. I’ve also gained an appreciation for the positive difference that volunteer programs can make in this arena. And having spent countless hours since childhood, browsing bookstores and burying my nose, reveling in the joy of reading, I have a deep fondness for any place that individuals and families can go and unabashedly indulge their love of the written word. The fact that Open Books combines the two makes it a no-brainer. I would love to see their model catch on and go nation-wide, and I’m pleased to support them with donated copies of Souvenirs and Other Stories.