Nomadic Press Publishes a Multitude of Voices

Its model is publishing works that resonate with its audiences’ desires.


Published:

J.K. Fowler founded Nomadic Press to support marginalized and silenced authors.

Photo courtesy Nomadic Press

The word nomadic implies movement, rootlessness, following the herd from one place to the next. But Nomadic Press cannot be accused of not having put down roots in Oakland. Since arriving in the East Bay from Brooklyn in 2013, Nomadic Press has hosted hundreds of local events, published numerous local writers, forged partnerships across communities, and altered the face of the Oakland literary scene by supporting artists and writers from groups that have been marginalized and silenced. To J.K. Fowler, founder and executive director of Nomadic Press, the name Nomadic refers to the way ideas can move, creating spontaneous artistic encounters resulting in art that responds, engages, and electrifies.

Nomadic Press began in Brooklyn in 2011 as a journal, a series of experimental chapbooks, and hosted events. Fowler moved to Oakland in 2013 and pretty soon, Nomadic Press was bicoastal. In the last six years, in addition to putting out a slew of new titles, Nomadic Press has initiated partnerships with local organizations like Chapter 510, Oakland’s youth writing center, and begun an incubator program that offers low-cost community space for regular reading series, events, classes, meetings, and workshops. When he moved to Oakland, Fowler was surprised at the lack of physical space for programming. Opening the incubator allows Nomadic Press to foster relationships in Oakland and deepen its connection to its community. One recent offering was Writing Rainbow, a monthly writing program and safe space for writers identifying as queer or transgender and people of color. This serves Nomadic Press’ mission of supporting the work of emerging and established writers and responding to a need for a multitude of voices represented in print.

It is this responsiveness that sets Nomadic Press apart from other publishers. By hosting so many community events (in a month, it may host up to six in Oakland alone), the publishers are able to see who their audience members are, where they come from, what energy they bring with them, and what they respond and react to. It is by gauging these elements that publishers decide which books to publish, blowing apart the notion of an author toiling alone in an attic or coffee shop.

Nomadic Press has a full slate for 2019. Upcoming releases include full-length poetry collections from Ayodele Nzinga and Jeremy Fernando, as well as new short story and flash fiction collections. Nomadic Press recently put out a call for novel submissions, so look for those in your local bookstore. Nomadic Press has also branched out into children’s literature through the Little Nomad imprint. Occasionally Accurate Science is a collection of poems by July Westhale with illustrations by Liz Laribee that “investigate, play with, and push the envelope of collective nouns in fantastical and ordinary ways.” This spring, Nomadic Press will release an anthology of young black men writing about masculinity, to be released at a First Friday event May 3. The anthology, a mix of poetry and fiction, will be produced in collaboration with Chapter 510 as the result of a six-week workshop led by Daniel Summerhill, former Youth Poet Laureate. For more information, NomadicPress.org.

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