Here at W.o.o.t.s, we are always on the lookout for opportunities that will inspire and inform young writers in our community. That’s why we are excited about Powell’s Smallpressapalooza happening next Monday, March 28th from 6 to 10 pm at the Powell’s on Burnside (1005 West Burnside, Portland).

Not only can you hear from an array of unique writers, but you can see WITS writer Nicole Georges read from Invincible Summer, a collection of her self-published, wonderfully illustrated work. We went to Nicole, self-publishing goddess herself, to tell you more.

Q: What are small presses? Why should young writers be excited about them?

A: SmallPressPalooza is not just about small scale publishers, it is also a celebration of people who self publish. Students should be excited about self publishing because it means power through self expression. If you’d like to be a writer or an artist, you don’t need to wait until you have a fancy degree or the approval of a publisher, you can walk to the xerox machine and walk out with your own pamphlet sized chapbook or zine for other people to read and enjoy. Voila- you’re a published artist or writer! Do It Yourself!

Q: How did Portland’s small presses help you when you were a young writer?

A: I have been making my own zines since I was 13 years old. Portland’s institutions like the Independent Publishing Resource Center and Reading Frenzy helped to encourage my art and provide a community of self publishers and artists to talk to and share work with. Tugboat press collected together 175 pages of my previously self published work in 2003 or 2004 into an anthology and helped boost my readership, which was very very nice of them. I will always be indebted to Tugboat Press.

Q: Have you read your WITS students your ‘zine? Would you be excited if they read it/heard you read it at the Smallpressapalooza?

A: My zines usually have too much foul language for my classroom time with WITS students. Sometimes I will read them edited tidbits, but  I prefer to share the self published work of others with my students. It would be great to see some younger, familiar faces at Smallpressapalooza! By all means, come down and defend me against hecklers and tomato-throwers!

Q: Is there anything else you think our blog readers should know about the event or about small press publishing?

A: Publish your own work! If you like your blog entries & you’re proud of your writing, print it out, walk to the copy shop, and create something tangible and handmade with love. Give people something to cherish and enjoy for longer than the 4 minutes it takes to glance at a computer screen.

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Thanks so much to Nicole for the wise words. She will read at Smallpressapalooza at 7pm sharp. Be there!

If you aren’t lucky enough to have Nicole as your WITS writer, click here for more about Nicole and her work.