Here are some awesome literary organizations to support this #GivingTuesday.
Now that you’ve purchased new house slippers, a floor lamp, and an air fryer at slight discounts (anyone else? just me?), why not consider donating a few dollars to these very worthy literary organizations, nonprofits, and volunteer-run bookshops?
Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC)
BINC’s mission is to support and strengthen the bookselling community. As you can imagine, this wonderful nonprofit has been indescribably valuable to not only independent bookstores but also individual booksellers who have lost their jobs during this pandemic. (Personally, I’m also a huge fan of these Jon Klassen hats; a portion of the proceeds goes to supporting BINC!)
PEN America is a great defender of free expression. Standing at the intersection of literature and human rights, they advocate for journalists and writers who have been imprisoned for their work. (They also sued Donald Trump.)
For 30 years, this nonprofit has been championing the voices of LGBTQ writers. According to their mission statement: “We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read.”
What is the gender breakdown like in the literary community? VIDA is a watchdog on behalf of women in the literary arts, rallying for intersectional feminism and transparency with regards to gender imbalances and a lack of diversity in our industry.
Books Through Bars consists of volunteer booksellers, librarians, archivists, writers, editors, and avid readers who thoughtfully match book requests sent in from people in prison. This is a group that believes in the transformative power of books and storytelling, a group that believes that education is a human right. If you’re an abolitionist or pro-prison reform, this might be the organization for you.
Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP)
CLMP is an important nonprofit that champions independent presses and literary magazines. They bring together separate literary communities, and by providing technical and financial support to their members, as well as events and programming, they operate as a valuable resource for indies.
In addition to hosting the annual National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation provides educational and entertaining public programming year-round (see: their Literature for Justice program) to encourage readers and to help direct the culture conversation around books.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe & Bar
What do you get when you put together a bunch of dedicated volunteers and a bookstore stock that’s entirely donated out of the goodness of people’s hearts? This is Housing Works. 100% of their profits go directly to offering lifesaving support to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division (BGSQD)
The BGSQD is a volunteer-led queer cultural center, event space, and bookstore with a mission to “excite and educate a self-confident, sex-positive, and supportive queer community by offering books, publications, and art and by hosting readings, performances, film screenings, book discussion groups, and workshops.”
Bluestockings serves as a volunteer-run bookstore, cafe, activist center, and safe space. In their own words: “Bluestockings seeks to embody and share the principles of intersectional, trans-affirming, gender nonconforming, and sex-worker affirming feminisms and support liberatory social movements.”
*Not a bad idea to support these now that Simon the Random Penguin giant publisher is coming!!
This small press vows to publish books that ignite social movements and transformation by heralding “insurgent and marginalized voices from around the world to build a more just future.”
This Minnesota-based independent press has been a champion of writers at all stages of their careers. They publish poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literature in translation.
This small publisher aims to create new spaces for writers and readers to interact by publishing exciting new works and also emphasizing off-the-page programming.
Archipelago Books is a nonprofit that exclusively publishes literature in translation with the goal of bridging cultural gaps and fostering a more communicative world through words.
Transit Books is a California-based nonprofit press that is dedicated to publishing both international and American literature to “carry readers across boarders and communities.”
Based at the Center for the Art of Translation, Two Lines Press is a San Francisco-based publisher of literature in translation that aims to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity.