A few years back, I was introduced to Akashic Books, the provocative Brooklyn indie with a taste for urban and political literature. Like many, I found them after they published Go the Fuck to Sleep, the hilariously subversive and now infamous children’s book. It didn’t take long for me to recognize Akashic as a trailblazer in the publishing field—a creative company that embraced risky titles and little-represented voices in literature.
Akashic Books produces a number of global titles, covering regions from the Caribbean to the Middle East. One of their most renowned international releases is the Noir Series, a city-based anthology of criminal tales. What began with Brooklyn Noir in 2004 has grown into a truly massive series representing noir writing from dozens of cities around the world, including Morocco, Belfast, Havana, Rio, and Trinidad, among many others. I can’t imagine any other publisher but Akashic would think to bring Moroccan noir to English readers. Akashic Books is, without a doubt, among the “innovators to watch” in independent publishing (Los Angeles Times).
In addition to the Noir Series, I personally recommend the chapbook series New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Tano) edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. It’s a beautiful, limited-edition collection that arrives once a year, and I anticipate its release each spring.
Read an excerpt from Akashic Books’ “About” page below.
“Akashic Books is a Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers.”
By Chelsey Slattum