Summer 2019 Update

Added on by Scott Cunningham.
  • We released the newest book in our Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook series: Mia S. Willis’s monster house. Find Mia on tour and get the book here.

  • We’re working on the first book in our “Miami Trilogy.” Making Good Time, edited by Lynne Barrett, features the work of over 25 South Florida writers and paints a unique picture of how and why we do (and don’t) get around. Look for a release in the fall of 2019.

AWP Tampa

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

Join us at AWP Tampa!

We'll be at Booth T445 in the book fair all week representing Miami's publishing culture.


Announcing the winner of the 2017 Chapbook Prize

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

Congratulations to Layla Benitez-James, winner of the 2017 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode But He Had to Make Sure, selected by Major Jackson.

Layla will receive $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2018, a week-long residency at The Writers Room at The Betsy Hotel and 10 complimentary copies of the chapbook. She will give a feature reading at the 2018 O, Miami Poetry Festival. The Prize is a signature program of Cave Canem Foundation.

Layla Benitez-James (Austin, 1989) is a poet, translator, and artist living in Alicante, Spain. Her writing has appeared in The San Antonio Express-News, Acentos Review, Matter, Guernica, and Autostraddle, among other places. Translations can be found in Waxwing and Anomaly. Poems translated into Spanish are published in Revista Kokoro, La Caja de Resistencia and La Galla Ciencia Numero IV with bilingual presentations in Spain including El Tren de los Poetas in Cuenca, Los Lunes Literarios, La Galla Ciencia, Café Zalacaín in Murcia, and La poesía es noticia: Moth & Rust / Óxido y polilla, una sesión de poemas en inglés y español in Alicante. Audio essays about translation can be found at Asymptote Journal Podcast. She currently works with the Unamuno Author Series in Madrid as their Director of Literary Outreach. 

Honorable Mentions: Casey Rocheteau for Gorgoneion and Lynne Thompson for A Construction of Bindings.

Layla Benitez-James

Layla Benitez-James

We won a Knight Arts Challenge grant for a new project

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

For Immediate Release, December 4, 2017

Jai-Alai Books To Publish “The Miami Trilogy”: Three New Titles Exploring Miami’s Most Pressing Civic Issues

In order to inspire civic action, Jai-Alai Books, the small press imprint of O, Miami, is publishing three books about the three most pressing issues in Miami: transit, sea level rise, and poverty.

Each book in "The Miami Trilogy" series will focus on one of the three themes, and each will have a unique design, editorial, and distribution strategy.

The first book, Making Good Time, is an anthology of thirty-one Miami transit stories edited by Lynne Barrett and featuring writers such as Richard Blanco, Chantel Acevedo, Diana Abu-Jaber, Jennine Capó Crucet, Les Standiford, and Thomas Swick

On Monday, December 4th, “The Miami Trilogy” was awarded a grant from the Knight Arts Challenge, created by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in order to fund the best ideas for bringing South Florida together through the arts.

"The arts are a wonderful lens for examining pressing issues. Jai-Alai books has decided to take up the mantle and probe three of the most important facing Miami, which we hope will advance the conversation, around transit, sea level rise and poverty," said Victoria Rogers, VP/Arts at Knight Foundation.

This is the second time Jai-Alai Books has been awarded a Knight Arts Challenge grant, and the third for O, Miami as a whole.

The Miami Trilogy is the most ambitious and important project the press has tackled,” says Executive Editor P. Scott Cunningham. “I’m thrilled that Knight Foundation has given the books an opportunity to reach as many readers as possible.”

Making Good Time will be released in 2018. The Sea Level Rise and Poverty books will follow, in that order, and the whole project will wrap up by the end of 2019.

To see all of the winners, visit Knight Arts.

About Jai-Alai Books
Jai-Alai Books is a publishing imprint celebrating Miami culture, history, and language. Run by a collective and proudly regional, the press operates under the umbrella of O, Miami Poetry Festival and publishes titles in a variety of genres.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.


Shipping delays

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

Due to damage to our office suffered during Hurricane Irma, please be patient with us regarding the shipping of your book orders. 

Good news: we're all safe!


Nick Makoha wins 2nd annual chapbook prize

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

England's Nick Makoha has won the 2nd Annual Toi Terricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize, presented by Cave Canem Foundation in collaboration with O, Miami and The Betsy-South Beach.

Nick's manuscript, Resurrection Man, was selected by National Book Award-winner Robin Coste Lewis and will be released on April 5, 2017, at a feature reading at The Betsy, as part of the O, Miami Poetry Festival.

Stay tuned for event details and congratulations to Nick.

Nick Makoha is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow who represented Uganda at Poetry Parnassus as part of the Cultural Olympiad held in London. A former Writer in Residence for Newham Libraries, his 1-man-Show My Father & Other Superheroes debuted to sold-out performances at 2013 London Literature Festival and is currently on tour. He has been a panelist at both the inaugural Being a Man Festival (Fatherhood: Past, Present & Future) and Women of the World Festival,(Bringing Up Boys). In 2005 award-winning publisher Flippedeye launched its pamphlet series with his debut The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man. Part of his soon to be published 1st full collection The Kingdom Of Gravity is in the anthology Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press). Nick recently won the Brunel International African Poetry prize and has poems that appear in the The Poetry Review, Rialto, The Triquarterly Review, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri.

Jai Alai on ESPN's 30 for 30

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

ESPN recently aired a well-made (but, in our opinion, too short) documentary about the demise of the sport of jai alai in America.

Highlights include interviews with legendary players Joey Cornblit and Benny Bueno, although they obviously cut Benny's ideas about how to take jai alai into the 21st Century. He has some great ideas about how to modernize jai alai, and it would have been nice to give some airtime to his vision.

They do a good job of showing how devastating the player's strike was to the sport's popularity, but they completely skipped over the mob ties to the sport, which is weird since it's well-documented at this point and involves ever-popular bad guy Whitey Bulger.

The Great Jai Alai Documentary to Rule Them All is still out there somewhere. Until it arrives, kill 15 minutes with this one.

Rio Cortez chapbook goes on sale 4/14/16

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

The inaugural winner of the Toi Derricotte + Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize, Rio Cortez's I have learned to define a field as a space between mountains, will be released by Jai-Alai Books the evening of Thursday, April 14, 2016 at a party hosted by The Betsy-South Beach. (Here's an event link.)

If you're unable to join us, the book will be made available for purchase online from the Jai-Alai Books website beginning on April 15, 2016.

We could not be more thrilled to be involved in the publication of Rio's manuscript, and we are incredibly grateful to Cave Canem Foundation and The Writer's Room at the Betsy-South Beach. We would also like to thank the contest judge, Ross Gay.

Announcing the winner of our first annual chapbook contest

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

Jai-Alai Books is proud to announce that Rio Cortez has been selected by Ross Gay as the inaugural winner of the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for her manuscript, I Have Learned to Define a Field as a Space Between Mountains.

Rio will be in residence at The Writer's Room at the Betsy Hotel-South Beach in April and will be a featured reader at the O, Miami Poetry Festival on April 14, 2016. That night, we'll unveil the chapbook, the first in an annual series, produced in partnership with Cave Canem, to publish the best new work by African-American poets. 

Rio Cortez is a Pushcart-nominated poet from Salt Lake City, who has received fellowships from Poets House, Cave Canem, and Canto Mundo. She was the recipient of the Sarah Lawrence College Lucy Grealy Prize and the 2012 Poets & Writers Amy Award. She is a graduate of the MFA program at NYU and co-founder of The Good Times Collective and BLKGRP. 

Submissions are now open

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

So you wrote a book. Or you woke up last night with an idea for a book and wrote the first chapter by the light of your cell phone. Or you've been doing a specific kind of work (probably in Miami) and you think that a book would really crystallize it for your community and for history like no other art form can.

Two weeks ago, if you wanted a Miami-based independent press to publish that book, you would have been up Purdy Avenue during a King Tide without a paddle. 

But now? Jai-Alai Books, your hometown paper slingers, your fellow Haslem-for-mayor voters, is accepting submissions from the general public.

There are a million untold stories in Miami, a million people here doing interesting and important things that should be documented, saved, presented, and hallelujah-ed.

Or rather, Jai-Alai-lujah-ed.

Miami is the most interesting city in America right now. Let's make sure it gets remembered that way.

Check out our guidelines and then submit here

A Love Letter to Miami

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

This past week, the authors of Jai-Alai's first publication, Forager: A Subjective Guide to Miami's Edible Plants, visited Flavorish Market on Miami's "Upper East side" for a discussion and tasting. 

Tiffany, George, and Nick brought a bounty of plants that they had foraged that afternoon, including Spanish needle, mango, elderflower, tamarind, pigeon pea, and purslane, all of which had been picked within thirty blocks of the store. Visitors passed around broken-open shells of tamarind as the three talked about the process of creating the book, a "subjective" guide to foraging in Miami. Tiffany described it as "a love letter to Miami," which is better than any description I've come up with and perhaps explains the interest in it that we've received from other cities. Forager doesn't just describe Miami. It feels like Miami. 

Flavorish's owners Alain Guillen and Jennifer Frehling provided free wine for tasting from the market's curated selection of vintages and made everyone feel at home in the store. If you haven't been, Flavorish carries all kinds of local, organic, and unique gourmet items for kitchen and table that you won't find at Publix, Whole Foods, or Sur la Table.  

Stay tuned for upcoming events. The Forager team will be and out about with the book later this summer and into the fall. We'd love to see you!

Jai-Alai Books is a finalist for a Knight Arts Challenge grant

Added on by Scott Cunningham.

Jai-Alai Books was recently named as a finalist for the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge. The list of 75 individuals and organizations is impressive, and we're honored to be recognized among them.

Our parent organization, O, Miami, is a Knight-funded organization, and they received a Knight Arts grant in 2013 for a project to celebrate the life and work of Miami-born poet Donald Justice.

After the announcement, The Miami New Times interviewed us about our motivations and goals for starting the press.