Alastria Press is a collaborative publishing project by A. P. Vague and Jesse Allen that focuses on short-run homemade books featuring nonfiction writing by local artists in the Wichita, Kansas area.
With backgrounds in both visual art and English literature, one of the concepts that bridges our two perspectives is the belief that criticism and theory are underrepresented in our fields. Opportunities for artists and writers often take the form of calls for creative works such as short stories, poetry, or painting. We want to provide a forum where thinkers and makers can explore critical discourse in an accessible manner. We want to use books to share this work with the world in a way that allows it to be collected, lent, reread, loved, and passed down. The raw, analog quality of a handmade book appeals to artists, collectors, and readers alike and imbues a text with a care and permanence that web-based outlets like blogs and online magazines don’t achieve.
We spent most of the summer traveling in Europe and forging connections with a large number of art galleries. One of the amazing things that stood out about European art spaces was that every gallery had a bookstore section, and they were taken very seriously. We want writers from Wichita and surrounding areas to have a place in this culture, to share ideas with the world, and to close the gap between midwestern “flyover” country and a worldwide conversation. One of the great things about local art space Harvester Arts is the practice of bringing art to Wichita from all over the country; in a way this project is an effort to establish the reverse direction, providing an outlet for Kansas voices to reach the art communities of the rest of the world.
We are currently seeking funding to pay for printing and shipping. We plan to find inexpensive analog publishing methods, potentially buying a used Xerox machine or similar, and assemble each edition by hand in our living room. Our budget will determine the reach of each publication, with the potential for copies to be available in gallery bookstores in France, Germany, Italy, and Romania. With some success we hope to expand the project to include multilingual editions, and we will pay for translation services when possible.
Please visit our crowdfunding project page by clicking here to contribute a donation or sign up for updates.
Our first edition will be invitational, and with enough interest we could move to an open-call format.
Please direct any inquiries or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alastria Press has merged with Class M Recordings, and audio releases will continue to be available here.
Update 12/12/16: Our crowdfunding campaign was a modest success, earning us enough donations to release short runs of four different books, the first of which will be available in January. Thank you to everyone who expressed interest. We are now in a position to accept proposals for future editions, and if interested please contact us at apvague.gmail.com.