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Since 2001 Fence Books has been redefining the terms of accessibility by publishing challenging writing distinguished by idiosyncrasy and intelligence rather than by allegiance with camps, schools, or cliques. Fence Books supports writers who might have difficulty being recognized because their work doesn’t answer either to the mainstream or to recognizable modes of experimentation. Through this openness Fence Books is free to explore and connect the many literary communities and aesthetic lineages. Fence Books publishes poetry, fiction, and critical texts and anthologies, and prioritizes sustained support for its authors, many of whom come to us through our book contests and then go on to publish second, third, and fourth books. Fence Books is home to La Presse, an imprint publishing contemporary French poetry in translation, edited by poet Cole Swensen, and to Picket Books, a children’s literature imprint.
The Motherwell Prize (formerly the Alberta Prize) is an annual series offering publication of a first or second book of poems by a woman, as well as a five thousand dollar cash prize. Notable winners include Chelsey Minnis, Sasha Steensen, Laura Sims, and Ariana Reines.
Our second prize series is the Fence Modern Poets series. This contest is open to poets of any gender and at any stage of career, and offers a one thousand dollar cash prize in addition to book publication. Past winners include Joyelle McSweeney, Prageeta Sharma, Geraldine Kim, James Shea, and Macgregor Card.
Fence Books is a participating publisher in the National Poetry Series, and has recently published prizewinning titles by Rodrigo Toscano, Douglas Kearney, and Jena Osman.
Fence Books is a program of Fence Magazine, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization in the state of New York. Since 2007 Fence Magazine, Incorporated has been affiliated with the University at Albany and the New York State Writers Institute.