Celebrating ten years of Akashic Books

This Thursday night at the Brooklyn Public Library, Akashic Books celebrates ten years of reverse-gentrifying the literary world.

“I think that literature should be consumed by more than just the well-educated,” founder and publisher Johnny Temple told the IHT earlier this year. “[W]e don’t need to just keep trying to sell books to the same people, these people for sure but also more of the population.”

In the past decade, Temple has published the likes of Chris Abani, Colin Channer, T. Cooper, and Marlon James. Some of Temple’s authors leave mainstream publishers for Akashic, some go on to larger publishers after acclaimed Akashic debuts, and still others, like Abani, straddle both worlds.

Recently I asked Temple how he feels when writers who start with Akashic publish elsewhere.

“I have an unconventional take for an indie publisher,” he told me. “I think it’s arrogant for publishers to think they know what’s best for a writer.”

Since Akashic only publishes authors Temple and his cohorts like and respect as people, he supports their decisions to publish books any place they feel good about. He was particularly glowing about (MaudNewton.com favorite) Marlon James, whom he called the “quintessential Akashic author.” James’ debut novel, John Crow’s Devil, came out from Akashic. His second book is forthcoming from Riverhead. And Temple couldn’t be more proud.

For those of you who can’t make it out on Thursday night, I’m giving away copies of Colin Channer’s The Girl with the Golden Shoes, Chris Abani’s Song for Night, Arthur Nersesian’s Swing Voter of Staten Island, and A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing, edited by T. Cooper and Adam Mansbach.

All four books will go to the 9th person to email me at maud [at] maudnewton.com with “Akashic” in the subject line Imani.


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