We've known for weeks -- months -- two years -- that Allan Kornblum was stepping down as publisher of Coffee House Press in Minneapolis. And it's been no secret who his successor would be -- Chris Fischbach, associate publisher and a Coffee Houser for 16 years. This slo-mo transition is just about complete, with Kornblum moving to the position of senior editor and founder in mid-July, and Fischbach becoming publisher.
Kornblum's love of great writing, great books and great design is well-known in the Twin Cities literary community, and his letterpress broadsides are legendary. (He designs them, creates them and gives them away generously.) He founded Coffee House Press in 1984, and it has grown into a nationally regarded nonprofit literary publisher. Karen Tei Yamashita's novel, "I Hotel," was a finalist last year for a National Book Award.
Fischbach started the traditional way -- as an intern -- and has steadily worked his way up. He has brought many writers to the press, including memoirist Kao Kalia Yang, and Sam Savage, whose 2006 novel "Firmin" has been published in more than a dozen languages.
• David Housewright's newest novel, "Highway 61," has been published by Minotaur. His events include 1 p.m. today at Valley Booksellers in Stillwater; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.; and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Handke Center in Elk River.
• What's up with Neil Gaiman? I mean, besides his endless stream of entertaining tweets? (Under @NeilHimself.) "Stories," an anthology edited by Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, is out in paperback. It contains short stories by Stewart O'Nan, Jodi Picoult, Jeffrey Deaver and a host of others. And Gaiman's "American Gods" has been released in a 10th-anniversary edition with a new introduction by the author. It's also Gaiman's preferred text, and so is about 20,000 words longer than the original. (Take that, editors!) The e-book is embedded with a Gaiman interview. On his blog, Gaiman suggests that people buy a copy locally -- "from Greg Ketter at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis, because once the tour is done I will undoubtedly wind up going to DreamHaven and signing my way through whatever he has for me." (DreamHaven is at 2301 E. 38th St.)