Chris Fischbach, publisher of Minneapolis nonprofit Coffee House Press, has left the National Book Award-winning organization, the trade journal Publishers Weekly reported Tuesday. No reason was given for his departure.
Board president Carol Mack told Publishers Weekly that Fischbach was not fired. “We have parted ways after many years of great collaboration,” she said. “He was a great asset to the press and we wish him all the best.”
Fischbach did not immediately respond to a Star Tribune request for comment but in a statement posted to Facebook he said: “It is time for me to step down as Publisher. I’m extremely proud of the work I have accomplished at Coffee House Press. I have developed incredible relationships here and look forward to the next new and exciting chapter in my career and life where I can leverage my prior experience, skills, and success to a new opportunity.”
He began his career at Coffee House as an intern in 1994 and worked his way up to associate publisher, becoming publisher in 2011 after founder Allan Kornblum stepped down due to ill health.
Under Fischbach, Coffee House launched its writers in the stacks program, placing writers and artists in libraries; partnered for several years with independent publisher Emily Books; and won its first National Book Award in 2018 for “Indecency,” a poetry collection by Justin Phillip Reed.
The board will launch a national search for a replacement.
“Our mission stays the same,” said Mack. “Our values stay the same. We are committed to our authors and to putting out literature that the world needs.” Until then, senior editor Erika Stevens will serve as interim editorial director.
Laurie Hertzel • @StribBooks