Allan Kornblum on the future of Coffee House Press

Yesterday afternoon I wrote about the news that Chris Fischbach will be taking over the position of publisher at Coffee House Press, and that founder Allan Kornblum will now be the press’ Senior Editor.

Yesterday Chris Fischbach cited some of his goals and challenges in taking over the successful independent literary press.

Today we hear from founder Allan Kornblum on the transition, which has been in the planning for the past two years.

I was so pleased to discover in Chris Fischbach, the rare combination of

literary acumen, personal leadership, and good business sense that are

needed to serve as the publisher of an independent literary press like

Coffee House.

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Coffee House Press founder Allan Kornblum

Kornblum says Fischbach is stepping in to run the press at a critical time.

Like every nonprofit arts organization, Coffee House faces an environment marked by declining donations and increased expectations. And I believe that the arts can play an important role in reminding America that we are a nation that plans and accomplishes great things.

But in addition to the general problems faced by all nonprofits, Coffee House must be nimble enough to anticipate rapidly changing technology for book production, changes in bookselling, the movement of book reviewing from print to the internet, and changes to the very shape and format of the book itself. All this, while retaining the literary vision that has always informed and enhanced our editorial acquisitions.

Kornblum says he’s looking forward to continuing at the press as senior editor, and serving occasionally as counselor to Fischbach “upon his request.”

Kornblum has accomplished alot of big things with his “small” press. Coffee House is commonly considered one of the top five independent literary presses in the nation, along with two other Twin Cities mainstays, Graywolf and Milkweed Editions.

I participated, with many others, in the movement to open the doors of

publishing to women and writers of color. And in doing so, Coffee House

participated in the greater, ongoing effort to broaden the perception of

what it means to be an American. That is an effort I know that Chris, our

staff, and our board, will continue to participate in.

Kornblum is always careful to note that “publishing is not a solo act,” so he resists taking too much credit for accomplishments of the press he founded 27 years ago. But he will tell you that, by always pursuing literary excellence, Coffee House Press has exceeded his wildest dreams.

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