End of Print Run, Next

Hi Forward Friends and Family,

I wanted to give you all a head’s up that SPD is in possession of the remaining 127 copies of Forward. Those copies are the end of the original print run.

A few things: I don’t think we’re going to do another print run of this edition of Forward. Some of it is that we’re no longer partnered with Aforementioned Productions, some of it is contracts and logistics, and the other thing is simply time.

When I said essentially fuck it, let’s make an anthology, my life was in a much different space. I was able to make the time to answer a lot of emails, find a team of people to work with (who were wonderful!), read every submission, and deal with a lot of bureaucracy and talking to people. It was great. It was stressful. It was terrible. It was great.

The other thing beyond my increasingly shrinking free time, is that I don’t want to invest the money and time and resources to maintaining just this one anthology. I want to do something else. Some things I’ve been considering: doing another anthology (although I don’t think I would be able to really do this and do this well until, um, 2021), publishing a much smaller book with only three writers and doing corresponding criticism although this involves establishing my own small press and LLC, or one suggestion is to take whatever money comes out of the sales of Forward, and use it to invest in starting a local reading series that brings small press writers of color to a community that will read and buy their books, and pays the writers for doing this. Or if I can’t do any of these things, donating the money to a writer or editor of color, who need the funding for a project for BIPOC. If you have a great idea, let’s talk.

Forward is being taught in classes this fall (in Texas, in Arizona, in Ohio). It’s in several libraries (you can Worldcat it! But it’s in several university library systems, it’s available to the fine people of Portland, Seattle, and New York City through their public library systems). I will make sure it’s available in some way digitally. It will keep living.

I just wanted to thank you all one last time for all the things you’ve done for Forward! Volunteering, submitting work, buying it, reading these newsletters, reaching out and supporting the authors.


We're Best Sellers

On Small Press Distribution!

Hey everyone,

Happy May 1st. It’s been a while since we did any Forward updates, but some news!

1) We’re currently sold out at SPD. I’m sending more books tomorrow morning, but if you have any urgent Forward buying needs, the best place to get copies is Powell’s. If you’re in the Boston-area, there’s still a few copies at the Harvard Co-op Bookstore. And there is an evil website that you can get copies from, but do know that we’ll only see like (and this is optimistically) twenty cents from purchases from that place.

2) We’re on the SPD Bestseller list for March and April which is pretty great! Especially for a book where the only coverage so far has been from one Electric Literature article in January (and we were one book among many other great books).

3) Instructors have been reacting really positively to Forward; right now, it’s on track to be taught at a few different universities in the fall. Which is also great! Related to this: eventually on that evil website which I refuse to name in this newsletter, there will be a Kindle version of this book. Even though I wish we could do no business with them for a project like this, for courses to adopt this book and comply with accessibility, we will need to make a digital edition. Right now, the best way to have a digital version availability is through them. But if you’re reading this and you’re like ACTUALLY, I KNOW OF SOMETHING BETTER, please reach out. You can just respond to this message.

4) A few brags: staff members, Josh Denslow released his short story collection, Not Everyone Is Special and Jennifer Wortman’s short story collection, This. This. This. Is. Love. Love. Love. is available for pre-order from Split Lip Press.

Finally, we’re still weighing what to do next. Only the first printing of Forward was done in conjunction with Aforementioned Productions. And we’re still weighing what to do next—form a new press and go into a second printing—form a new press that alternates between small artistic project books by POC and textbook-style anthologies like Forward—start a lit mag via Substack—or something else. When we know what we’re definitely doing, I’ll let you all know.(and feel free to reach out if you have an idea).

Thank you all again for being so enthusiastic about this little book.

a million hearts for you all,


"You're the one who made me this way:" Dennis Norris II reads "Daddy's Boy."

the last audio update, ways to find Forward now, thank you

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for your support and love for the Forward anthology. We had our official launch party at AWP. While I can’t speak for everyone, for me, it was one of the most meaningful readings I’ve ever attended. Yeah, some of that is because this has been an intensive and sometimes-overwhelming process that has consumed a lot of time for me over the past months. But most of it was because of the kindness and grace and interest the audience was showing the readers. It was the way so many of the contributors were so excited to meet each other and listen to one another. It was afterward, seeing people exchange their contact information, commiserating with one another, and even talking about projects they could do together.

Let’s have one last reading, now. I’ve loved Dennis Norris II’s “Daddy’s Boy” for a long time. A million years ago when I was at SmokeLong, Rion Amilcar Scott chose it while guest-editing. It’s a story that’s bold, complicated, sexy, and at times, harrowing. It’s also a story that always reminds me of how much character-work, how much of a life can be built with a few words.

Dennis Norris II’s writing appears in The Rumpus, Apogee, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. They have been the recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Tin House, and Kimbilio Fiction, and they co-host the popular podcast Food 4 Thot. You can find more information at dennisnorrisii.com.

This is the last one of these recordings. Thank you, Bix Gabriel for coordinating the recordings.

Buying Forward

If you’re reading this newsletter, you probably already own Forward. But in case you still don’t have a copy, you can find it at SPD and Powell’s and if you’re in the Boston area, The Harvard Coop Bookstore.

You can also because it’s on SPD request that your local library stocks Forward and even your local bookstore can buy copies for you via SPD.

And if you have a copy and want to review it, we are on Goodreads.

Contributor Brags And Twitter Writing Competition

Contributor, Anna Cabe (“See Me”) has done a lot lately! She published “Say Mercy” in storySouth, On Hauntings:  Rewriting the White Lady of Balete Drive" in Queen Mob's Tea House, "Carriers" "Portrait of My Mother as a French Bulldog"and "Snow White, on Finding a Pair of Iron Shoes While Spring Cleaning" in Rag Queen Periodical, and "Why should young Filipinos in the diaspora care about Martial Law?" in Rappler.

One of the people/organizations that made this possible is @mythicpicnic. Mythic Picnic is exploring the ways twitter can bring us literature. One way he’s doing this is beyond funding anthologies like Forward and the forthcoming Teacher Voice, by hosting twitter writing competitions. If you’re interested in potentially winning $100, their current competition is open 4/7-4/14. Learn more by going to their twitter feed @mythicpicnic.

We’re winding everything up on Forward. We’re going to do one last update at the end of the month, but then we’ll be going silent at least for a little while. Thank you again for all your support over these past months!


Forward Contributor AWP Off-Site Events

Hi Everyone,

Here’s the second e-mail. This is just for off-site events:

The Forward Release Party is on Thursday, March 28th from 5:45-8 PM. It’s at Woody’s Coffee Tavern, 1412 SE Morrison. Facebook Event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/223116238636489/

You’ll have a chance to win a copy, you can buy copies here if you don’t win, and you could get the anthology signed by several of the contributors. It will also be a great time. Readers are: Gene Kwak, Christopher Gonzalez, SJ Sindu, Eshani Surya, Ruth Joffre, Marlin M. Jenkins, Yalie Kamara, Maggie Su, Tyrese Coleman, Dennis Norris II, George Abraham, Alvin Park, and Monterica Sade Neil. 

Thursday, March 28th

8:30-10:30 PM

Femme Force  
Cost: Free
Please join us for a dynamite evening of queer femme brilliance featuring the voices of Wendy C. Ortiz, Amber Dawn, Larissa Lai, SJ Sindu, Barrie Jean Borich, and Ariel Gore. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the authors. 

Powell’s City Of Books

9-11 PM

Disturb & Enrapture: A Sibling Rivalry Press Offsite Event  
Cost: Free
Sibling Rivalry Press presents Wendy Chin-Tanner, George Abraham, Ruben Quesada, Kay Ulanday Barrett, KMA Sullivan, Joseph Osmundson, Kate Leland, Sarah Browning, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, C. Russell Price, and Jesse Rice-Evans, along with host Collin Kelley. Accessible location! Cool people! Free and open to the public! This venue is within walking distance from the Convention Center. Disturb & Enrapture! 

Cup & Bar, 118 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232

Friday, March 29

5:30-7:30 PM

Readings from They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing  
Cost: Free
Join us for an evening of readings from Black Lawrence Press' anthology of collaborative writing. Edited by Simone Muench, Dean Rader, Sally Ashton, and Jackie K. White, They Said includes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as hybridized forms. Readers include: Amorak Huey, Todd Kaneko, Martha Silano, Ben Clark, GennaRose Nethercott, Cynthia Arrieu-King, Denise Duhamel, Julie Marie Wade, Jennifer Givhan, Alicia Elkort, Kelly Magee, Carol Guess, John Gallaher, G.C. Waldrep, Tyler Mills, Kendra DeColo, Callista Buchen, Amy Ash, Isobel O’Hare, Sarah Lyn Rogers, and Kyle McCord.

7-10 PM

A Night Of Literature: The Adroit Journal, Western Humanities Review, Quarterly West, Denver Quarterly

The Slide Inn (Free Food & Drinks)

2348 SE Ankeny Street

Kwabena Foli, Rebecca Bedell, Saddiq M Dzukogi, Elana Lev Friedland, Emily O'Neil, Megan Giddings, C Pam Zhang, Vi Khi Nao, Sara Rose Etter, and more

7-11 PM

IR X Split Lip After Dark

Cost: Free

Produce Row Cafe

204 SE Oak St, Portland, Oregon 97214

Gabriela Garcia, Jung Yun, Megan Giddings, Alison C. Rollins, Migueltzinta C. Solís, Elisa Gabbert, Brian Sneeden, Ariel Francisco, Krys Malcolm Belc, Chris Drangle, Jessica Lanay, Tyrese L. Coleman, and Cortney Lamar Charleston

8:30-11:30 PM


Price: $10

1733 SE 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97214


Flash readings and small talks with:

Fernando Flores Laura Adamczyk Lydia Kiesling Chia-Chia Lin A. E. Osworth Eshani Surya S. Erin Batiste Margaret Malone C Pam Zhang

Saturday, March 30th

5-7 PM

AWST, Future Tense, & SEMO Present!  

736 SE Grand Avenue
Cost: Free
Join us at Dig a Pony to hear some fantastic readers from AWST, Future Tense, and Southeast Missouri State University Presses! Tara Atkinson, Ron A. Austin, Karissa Chen, Susanna Childress, Jenny Yang Cropp, Dylan Loring, Dennis Norris II, Alicia Jo Rabins, and Elissa Washuta. 

7-9 PM

Queer Syllabus: A Celebration with Foglifter and The Rumpus  
Cost: Free
Local Lounge, 3536 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 
Join Foglifter and The Rumpus for an offsite event celebrating the Queer Syllabus! Featuring readings from Chen Chen, Melissa Febos, Claire Rudy Foster, T Kira Madden, Alicia Mountain, and Dennis Norris II, and emceed by Baruch Porras-Hernandez. This event is free and open to the public. Bring a new or used copy of your favorite queer book for our gay book swap!

Thanks for reading! We hope to see you if you’re coming to AWP!


Contributors' AWP Panels

E-mail 1 of 2,

So, first of all, even though it’s not a panel:

The Forward Release Party is on Thursday, March 28th from 5:45-8 PM. It’s at Woody’s Coffee Tavern, 1412 SE Morrison. Facebook Event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/223116238636489/

You’ll have a chance to win a copy, you can buy copies here if you don’t win, and you could get the anthology signed by several of the contributors. It will also be a great time. Readers are: Gene Kwak, Christopher Gonzalez, SJ Sindu, Eshani Surya, Ruth Joffre, Marlin M. Jenkins, Yalie Kamara, Alicita Rodriguez, Maggie Su, Tyrese Coleman, Dennis Norris II, George Abraham, Alvin Park, and Monterica Sade Neil.

LONG Message below, but if you’re looking for ways to support the anthology’s writers during AWP, please come out!


Thursday March 28th:


D139-140, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 We're Here and We're Queer: LGBTQ Women Tell Their Stories.  (Imogen BinnieChelsey JohnsonNicole Dennis-BennSJ SinduPatricia Smith) Queer people—and queer women especially— have long been marginalized in literature. What are the stories being told about queer women? And who is doing the telling? Four authors with very different backgrounds discuss their books and characters, the stereotypes they fight against, and the truths and lives they reveal. What are the various identities queer women navigate in real life and on the page? What untold stories remain hidden?


 D135, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 Writing Palestine: Combating Erasure/Imagining the Future.  (Ismail KhalidiGeorge Abraham, Nathalie HandalZaina Alsous) Marking seventy years of displacement and occupation in Palestine, Mizna, the only journal of Arab American literature, presents its Palestine Issue, with readings and discussion about the Palestinian struggle for freedom and the rich literature it has spurred. Acclaimed authors engage with seven decades of resilience and creativity in the face of catastrophe, sharing work that combats erasure by remembering, as well as by imagining possible (and impossible) futures.


B117-119, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1Light is the Left Hand of Darkness: A Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin.  (Alexander LumansEmma EisenbergC Pam ZhangDavid Naimon, Kelly Link) “Truth,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in her novel The Left Hand of Darkness, “is a matter of the imagination.” In 2018, one of America’s greatest science fiction writers passed on, leaving behind a library of literary and social achievements. Through her imaginative narratives, she scrutinized politics, gender, and the environment, creating alternate worlds and new societies as a means to convey deeper truths about our own. This panel celebrates her influential work and pays tribute to her legacy.


A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1  A Flash of Difference: Diversity and Inclusion in Flash Fiction.  (Tara Campbell, Marlena Chertock, Christopher GonzalezErinrose MagerMegan Giddings) Flash fiction is having a moment, but how diverse is the field? What is the state of flash in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual identity/orientation, and disability? Panelists will introduce underrepresented flash writers and resources that amplify traditionally marginalized voices. This panel is suitable for multiple audiences: educators who want to diversify their curricula, readers who want to broaden their reading lists, and publishers who want to enrich their author rosters.

C124, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1. What's Craft Got to Do With It?: On Craft, Race, and the Black Imagination.  (Dianca London PottsJessica Lanay Moore , Dennis Norris II, Jeni McFarland Cole Lavalais ) In an age when Black authors are on the rise, why is craft still dismissed as "bougie" or adjacent to whiteness? Why are Black narratives analyzed primarily through a sociological or anthropological lens rather than one of literary craft? Why do so many readers and writers still resist the merit of craft when it comes to Black literature? This dialogue examines, confronts, and unpacks the creative and cultural implications and potential of craft within the contemporary Black literary canon.

Friday, March 29


B116, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1. Dystopias and Utopias in Contemporary Asian American Literature.  (Chaya BhuvaneswarJimin HanThirii Myo Kyaw MyintAnita Felicelli) Ted Chiang writes in Story of Your Life: "Despite knowing the journey and where it leads, I embrace it and welcome every moment." Despite Chiang's renown, little attention has been paid to dystopian and utopian visions in Asian American works, particularly by women. Four writers examine the speculative impulse present in literature that on its face is about contemporary political events, combining brief readings, a Q & A on cross-genre literary work and craft, and an audience writing exercise.


A106, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1. From the First "The End" to Hitting Send: On Revising the Novel.  (Katie CorteseChantel AcevedoRanda JarrarDerek PalacioSJ Sindu) Kill your darlings. Read it out loud. Have a friend edit it. Plenty of advice exists for revising short fiction, but shoring up a novel spanning hundreds of pages presents a different set of challenges—especially since many workshops focus on short stories. The novelists on this panel have all written books that evolved from messy drafts to published works of art, and they share strategies, techniques, and revision tips—along with some trials and errors—with those who aspire to do the same.

B115, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1 Beyond Survival: Identity & Second Generation Fiction.  (Tyrese ColemanHilary ZAIDYZ Chin, Camille Acker) Panelists will discuss what happens when literature moves away from the struggles of marginality, i.e the "coming out,” the “immigrant,” and the “Civil Rights” story, to talk about identity in new and normative ways. The three women write from their personal perspectives on immigration, queerness, and race, seeking contemporary narratives answering the question, “What are we doing now that we have survived?”


B115, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1. Dispatches From the Land of Erasure: Arab American Writers Forum.  (Marwa HelalGeorge Abraham, Lena Khalaf TuffahaFarid MatukPhilip Metres) Arab American poets have struggled to make their voices heard over the din of empire, in a culture eager to use them as voiceless props in an imperial drama about America and the globe. Drawing on the Boston Review forum that appeared in May 2018, this panel will address the dynamics of imperial erasure and poetic insistence as resistance, moving the conversation beyond the bounds of Arab American experience and into a broader conversation about intersectionality and empire. 

C124, Oregon Convention Center. My Memoir’s First Year: Lessons Learned by New Authors of Creative Nonfiction.  (Anthony MollSarah Fawn MontgomeryMatt YoungJoseph OsmundsonTyrese Coleman) Five new memoirists discuss what to expect when you’re expecting a memoir. This assorted group of writers with books published in 2018 share their experiences launching their first memoirs: the expectations each had starting the process, the path from manuscript to book, the rollout and reception of each work, and the range of emotions that come with such a launch, from elation to melancholy.

Saturday, March 30th

9-10:15 AM

B114, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1. Beyond the Closet: New Queer Narratives.  (Eric SassonCarter SickelsViet DinhDennis NorrisPatty Smith) Coming Out stories have informed LGBTQ fiction for decades. But as the landscape for LGBTQ rights has expanded, so have the boundaries of LGBTQ fiction. What new narrative possibilities are emerging? How do authors deal with issues of identifying in their fiction without allowing it to consume the work? Are the expectations for LGBTQ fiction shifting as the culture at large shifts? Five authors will discuss how they're navigating the new landscape while remaining true to issues of queer identity.

10:30-11:45 AM

D131-132, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1. The Plot to Kill Plot: Practical Alternatives to "Plotting" Fiction.  (Joseph ScapellatoMatt BellAllegra HydeLing MaThirii Myo Kyaw Myint) Has the term “plot” outlived its usefulness? Do the many cultural and craft-related assumptions connected to traditional notions of plot needlessly close the door on other viable forms of narrative construction? In this panel, five writers of aesthetically varied fiction share practical alternatives to “plotting”—helpful strategies for structuring novels and short stories that question, resist, or otherwise usurp conventional conceptions of plot.

Portland Ballroom 255, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2.  McSweeney’s: Celebrating Innovative Fiction(Lucy CorinPatty Yumi CottrellC Pam ZhangDeb Olin UnferthRita Bullwinkel) McSweeney’s has been publishing innovative fiction for over twenty years. Founded in 1998 by the author Dave Eggers, the house’s quarterly journal contributors and books have won innumerable prizes. In celebration of McSweeney’s longstanding championing of literary excellence and experimentation, in this panel four recent McSweeney’s authors will discuss their work and the work of a McSweeney’s author that came before them for whom they hold immense admiration.

4:30-5:45 PM

B116, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1. Boulevard 35th Anniversary & 100 Issues Reading(Jessica RogenMegan GiddingsMeron HaderoKarthik Purushothaman) Founded in 1984, Boulevard magazine celebrates 100 issues and thirty five years of continuously publishing the finest in contemporary voices in fiction, poetry, and definitive essays on the arts and culture. Featuring writers from across our thirty five years, this reading reflects Boulevard’s mission to present a variegated yet coherent ensemble of creative and critical writing by both emerging and established writers

We’re also going to send out an e-mail with listings of our contributors’ off-site events and readings.

Thanks for looking this over!


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