What a tumultuous year this has been! Back in January, none of us could have predicted that a global pandemic of this magnitude would bring our lives to a collective halt. 2020 was revelatory in many ways. It reminded us how deeply flawed our healthcare system is, the great measures healthcare workers had to take to provide for those affected by COVID-19 in the face of institutional apathy. We once again saw how police brutality passed unchecked, even in such a difficult year, how people who took to streets to demand justice for Black people were attacked by the police and in the press. We watched congresspeople and senators debate over our lives while stimulus packages remain in limbo. As a small business, we witnessed closely how the pandemic affected our ability to stay open, and ravaged family businesses, enterprises, and people’s livelihoods.
And while this was an incredibly challenging year, we are proud to have made it to December 2020 with resilience and help from our community. We don’t know what challenges the next year holds, but we want to take a moment to acknowledge our labor this year and all that we accomplished. So, without further ado, here’s the 2020 Radix Media recap.
We expanded our team
In January, writer and editor Meher Manda joined Radix Media to help expand our catalog, in addition to handling our marketing and publicity. We are now a proud four-member team!
We published our first graphic prose-poetry chapbook—We Are All Things
After releasing Futures: A Science Fiction Series, we now consider ourselves chapbook savants. But the evocative and nimble We Are All Things by Elliott Colla and Ganzeer marked our foray into illustrative prose poetry. Unfolding in a lonely room in Cairo, We Are All Things examines the possibility of sentience in the most unlikely corners. While fantastical in approach, this is a deeply sensitive work we are glad to have published.
Purchase a copy from our store.
We launched the Own Voices Prize
Our publishing ethos is rooted in recognizing and highlighting writers from the margins. To that effect, we launched the Own Voices Prize this year, named after Corinne Duyvis’ movement to celebrate work by authors writing from their own experience. For the first iteration of the prize, we opened submissions to poetry chapbooks from emerging poets of color. Poet Aria Aber, author of Hard Damage (University of Nebraska Press, 2019) and 2020 Whiting Award winner, graciously agreed to be the guest judge. We received over 120 brilliant submissions from which Aria chose the manuscripts There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife by JinJin Xu and BINT by Ghinwa Jawhari as the winning chapbooks.
We published There Is Still Singing in the Afterlife in November 2020. Purchase it from our store.
BINT by Ghinwa Jawhari is forthcoming in March 2021!
We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a three-project Graphic Narrative Collection
One of the most exciting things to happen to an indie publisher is when you embark on a great publishing project. That happened to us this year when we acquired three graphic narratives—The Solar Grid by Ganzeer, Mortals by John Dermot Woods and Matt L., and Fanning the Flames by Molly Crabapple. But the demands of the COVID-19 shutdown affected our ability to publish these projects. We ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund these titles and were humbled at the support we received from our community! We are so grateful to everyone who considered our mission and these projects worthy of backing.
We provided print support to the Black Lives Matter movement
This year, the armed killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and countless innocent Black people reignited the Black Lives Matter movement. Thousands of people took to the streets across the world to demand justice, while the police used violence to crack down on protestors. At Radix Media, we participated by printing posters that we gave away at BLM protests around Brooklyn. Above, photos of our posters in the Associated Press and the New York Times.
We printed postcards to fundraise for important causes
Marius Mason is an anarchist, environmental, and animal rights activist currently serving 22 years in federal prison for acts of property damage carried out in defense of the planet. We had the opportunity to print his painting of Sacco and Vanzetti as a postcard to raise funds for Mason’s commissary fund. You can purchase a set in our store.
We also printed artist Ronald Wimberly’s postcard “Greetings from Brooklyn” to raise funds for the Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund. You can purchase a set in our store.
We launched a virtual reading series
With the pandemic putting a pause on in-person literary programming, we decided to start a virtual monthly reading series—Radix Reads—to celebrate writers and their work. In April, we celebrated National Poetry Month; our May reading was in honor of AAPI Heritage month; in June, we celebrated LGBTQI writers, and in July, we were joined by disabled writers for Disability Pride Month. We’re proud to have hosted writers like George Abraham, Rajiv Mohabir, Anjali Enjetti, Kamil Ahsan, Zefyr Lisowski, Jennifer Bartlett, Jenny Bhatt, Jess Silfa, Anne Carson and Robert Currie, Aria Aber, JinJin Xu, and Yanyi, among others. Above, the graphic for the Graphic Narrative edition of Radix Reads.
Our commercial print services helped elect DSA candidates to State Senate
As printers, we believe in supporting campaigns that reflect our political values. We unequivocally support the grassroots organizing of socialist candidates in their fight for progressive policies and restorative justice. We are proud to have provided print support to the campaigns of Julia Salazar, Jabari Brisport, Jamaal Bowman, Emily Gallagher, and Phara Souffrant Forrest.
We won a few awards
This year, our title Futures: A Science Fiction Series won Gold at the Foreword Reviews’ 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the Adult Science Fiction Category and was a 50 Books Winner of AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2019 competition. Muri by Ashley Shelby was a Shortlist and 1st Runner-up in the Chapbook Category of the 2020 Eric Hoffer Awards.
We printed some really cool stuff
This year, we had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing organizations and artists. Some of our best print projects include this Jews Against Fascism banner for Jews For Racial & Economic Justice, a really cool postcard for The Antifada Podcast, an art book for William Brown, a tattoo artist at Five Points Tattoo, membership cards for the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the DSA, a zine for the Pandemic Post Quaranzine, banners for Katal Center designed by Josh MacPhee, and the Bare Bones comic for illustrator and comic artist Allison Conway.
We completed our first decade of being in business
What emerged as a one-person print shop in Portland, Oregon is now a unionized print shop and independent publisher in Brooklyn, New York with several award-winning titles under its belt. We’re proud of this journey and prouder still of having made it with our convictions. To celebrate our ten-year anniversary, we are offering an anniversary collection featuring all of our titles, some stationery, a tote bag, and a t-shirt that you can purchase in our store.
Here’s to a great year in 2021!