The Narrows Launch at Hudson Urban Bicycles

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1. Author M. Craig with her display. 2. Friends of the author and launch partiers Magda, Anna, and Martha.

The West Village is not usually the first place you’d look for a wholly DIY book launch, but last Thursday it was home to the debut party for The Narrows, a steam punk novel produced entirely by independent means. Held at Hudson Urban Bicycles, the launch featured food, wine, and readings in an unconventional setting, a perfect fit for the books creation.

1. Author M. Craig reading a selection from the novel. 2. Author M. Craig signing a copy for Chrissy, a new fan.

As the first release by the Pennsylvania-affiliated Papercut Press, The Narrows is a collaborative effort by young, burgeoning artists done right. Written by newcomer M. Craig, it was edited by the locally sourced Liz Byer and designed cover-to-cover by Nim Ben-Reuven, a Bushwick-based graphic designer who personally screen-printed the limited edition hardcovers, as well as a series of prints for the novel. The book launch was catered by Martha Sarfaty (girlfriend to M. Craig and author of the mouth-watering blog Butter and Snacks) with food supplied by the Bedford Cheese Shop and of course, Trader Joe’s Wine.

1. The Narrows editor Liz Byer with boyfriend Todd. 2. Friends and launch partiers Jason, Jade, Kristof, Kim and Hannah.

The general atmosphere was far giddier than any book reading I’ve ever attended, possibly due to the copious amounts of beer and wine that were donated, but maybe simply because it was a cause the audience could believe in. For those of us who write, who have crafted a novel or are currently supporting friends who are creating their own, it is common knowledge that there is a long road to trek from the seed of an idea to its completion. The audience was populated by friends of the author who had discussed the plot at length, who could recognize aspects of themselves in the characters and the novel’s fantastical environs, who will now become de facto publicists for The Narrows, personally invested as they are in its success. Hopefully, this is what the future of publishing will look like.

1. Graphic designer Nim Ben-Reuven, showing off his work with girlfriend Frances.

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— Sarah Lerner is a freelance event coordinator for the L Magazine. She contributes art and film reviews to Time Out New York.

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