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When Supernovae Collide: Blair

Those weren’t fireworks we were watching last New Year’s Eve.

Instead, as we turned the calendar to 2018, that incredible explosion of light we witnessed was actually the collision of two publishing supernovae: John F. Blair, Publisher, and Carolina Wren Press, two lauded, longtime North Carolina publishers that merged to become Blair, a new, non-profit press and…wait for it…hypernova of the literary world!

Carolina Wren Press was founded by Judy Hogan in 1976. Publishing authors from North Carolina as well as the greater South, CWP came to focus, over the years, on giving voice to marginalized voices or authors who had been too often neglected by mainstream publishing.

Meanwhile, John F. Blair, Publisher, founded in 1954, had become an established, award-winning publisher of fiction and nonfiction, including titles about coastal North Carolina; cookbooks; memoirs; and countless books by and about North Carolina, Southerners in general, and, increasingly, the United States.

The new Blair:

…combine(s) the strengths of its predecessors. Like John F. Blair, Publisher, it will offer new and backlist books about culture, history, travel, and food in the Southeastern US and beyond. Strengthened by this backlist, the new Blair will be able to expand the mission of Carolina Wren Press, publishing additional literary fiction titles of both national and regional interest, with a focus on new and diverse voices.

New titles include Donald Morrill’s debut novel Beaut, a haunting tale of marriage and madness told in a blend of poetry and prose; the poetry collection Little Domesday Clock by Sam Witt, winner of both the Katherine Nason Bakeless First Book Prize (2000) and the Cleveland State University Press Open Book competition (2006); and two memoirs, This African-American Life by Hugh B. Price and Witness to Change by Sybil Morial.

Have a book you think might be perfect for Blair? You can check out the full guidelines on their submission page:

Blair is a small, independent press interested in publishing voices from beyond the mainstream. We publish prose and poetry by underrepresented writers such as women, people of color, authors with disabilities, LGBT authors, and experimental writers.

We are also interested in nonfiction works, particularly those by underrepresented writers, authors working on subject of cultural, natural, and historical interest in the American South and beyond.

Blair accepts unsolicited submissions through its three annual contests as well.

The Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman (now open!) honors full-length prose work (novel, short story collection, or memoir) by an author who is a woman. The winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the winning book will be published by Blair. Deadline: June 15.

The Lee Smith Novel Prize awards cash and publication to a novel by a Southerner and/or about the American South. This contest will open again for submissions in the summer of 2019.

And the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series will open again for submissions at a time TBD. The most recent winner was the debut poetry collection Binary Stars by Dana Koster.

Visit Blair on the web at and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.