In response to the rising costs of AWP book fair tables & demands from attendees for a more inclusive experience, Whale Prom is an accessible, free-admission book event dedicated to independent presses & the people who love them.

We believe independent literary ventures doing great things deserve a more affordable option to showcase their hard work, broadcast their missions, and celebrate their freaking incredible authors.

We’re excited to spotlight small presses who advocate for historically marginalized voices. We’re excited to spotlight presses that do-it-together. We’re excited to offer free space to local literary organizations devoted to QTPOC writing & interests, and we’re actively reaching out to such organizations.

We’re thankful for all the open grumbles about the rising costs of AWP, and we appreciate the actions and ideas. We also wouldn’t be here without the ecosystem of zine fairs and DIY reading/writing communities sometimes overlooked as outside the “traditional scope” of AWP.

We planned to start small, but enthusiasm for this event greatly exceeded our expectations: over 1,000 indie lit lovers visited to see what the 55 indie presses, journals, and organizations had to offer. This turn-out convinced us that we have to keep going: we fully plan on hosting another Whale Prom on 3/29/19 in Portland, OR.

We hope there are many alternative book fairs & events during future AWPs. During everything. We feel like it’s time. We encourage an ocean of proms, for all mammals & all creatures everywhere.




Colette Arrand (@colettearrand)
Mark Cugini (@AScaredWhale)
Mike Young (@mikeayoung)




Hossannah Asuncion
JD Scott
Kamden Hilliard
Sarah Katz
Feliz Lucia Molina
Beyza Ozer
Jarod Roselló
Carolyn Zaikowski