To promote and preserve independent voices was the oft-repeated mission of the small Southern California publishers who gathered at the Church in Ocean Park on Monday, May 28, to display their books and to stage a day of readings by their authors.
More than 20 small presses set up tables in the church and sold their volumes, and writer James Maverick introduced about twice that number of poets, essayists and writers of short fiction who read their work to each other and the attending public at the Second Annual Small Press Book Fair sponsored by the Church at 2nd and Hill streets.
Fred Whitlock, who organized the event, said that it served the dual purpose of raising funds for the Church (donations were encouraged from those attending) and providing a much-needed commercial and literary forum for the local small presses and their authors. In addition, the participating publishers were encouraged to contribute a copy of their works to Beyond Baroque in Venice so that a repository of the literature would be permanently available.
This year’s event attracted more participation than last year’s inaugural book fair, said Whitlock, and he expected that it would be more successful in achieving its dual purpose.
For a listing of the program and participants (including links to most publishers), go to churchop.org, then click on “upcoming poetry events,” then click on “past poetry events” – yes, that’s correct – and finally click on “2nd Annual Small Press Book Fair (more).”