Tom Janikowski

Unusual Writer - Unusual Fiction


Join Mr. Janikowski at the Iowa City Book Festival!

Mr. Janikowski will be reading from his debut novel, The Crawford County Sketchbook at the Iowa City Book Festival on Saturday, October 3rd,

Please join him and fellow novelist Tracy Manaster (author of You Could Be Home By Now) at 1 PM at the Java House, 211 1/2 East Washington Street in Iowa City!

Come and enjoy four days of books in the ONLY UNESCO City of Literature in the USA - Iowa City, Iowa!

The Crawford County Sketchbook is #7 in EW's "Must List"!


by Tom Janikowski

Through a series of character sketches, the funny, endearing, and at times heart-breaking folks of Janikowski's fictional community come alive as a generations-long rivalry between two families
plays out.

(Entertainment Weekly, 21 August 2015)

Launch Party in the Quad Cities

The Midwestern launch party for The Crawford County Sketchbook will be at Theo's Java Club in Rock Island, Illinois, on Monday, 24 August, from 6:00 until 8:00 PM!  Please come and join us for cake, coffee, and great literature!

Theo's Java Club

213 17th St, Rock Island, IL 61201

Kirkus Reviews Takes a Look at the 'Sketchbook...

Debut Novel announced in publishers marketplace

"Tom Janikowski's debut novel, THE CRAWFORD COUNTY SKETCHBOOK, a three-part work set in the waking dream of a rural southern county, centering on the conflict between the virtuous Switchback family and the greedy and dishonest Morgan family, as told by several of the county's inhabitants, to Kate Gale at Red Hen Press, by Monika Luukkonen at Monika Luukkonen Literary Agency."

The Crawford County Sketchbook is due out August 15th,  2015.

Midwest Small Press Festival

Milwaukee, WI – May 4th, 2012 - In January 2012, a small but dedicated group of Milwaukee-based writers and bookmakers started planning the first Midwest Small Press Festival. 

The festival will take place in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, a cozy little spot full of artists and doers with a cooperative fervor.

An ambitious group of independent literary presses including Burdock Magazine, New American Press, Plumberries Press, Rescue Press, Ten Pages Press, The Literary Underground and others are participating and curating events for the weekend-long festival to be held the first weekend of June. 

The festival will center around a book-fair at the Polish Falcon (801 E. Clarke St.) on Saturday June 2nd. Here, small presses throughout the region are invited to display and sell their books. With presses coming from Chicago, Minneapolis, Michigan and Ohio, as well as from other parts of Wisconsin, the event promises to present an impressive introduction to the independent literary presence in the Midwest. 

Additional events throughout the weekend include an opening reception at Woodland Pattern (720 E. Locust St.) bookstore on Friday June 1st, workshops and readings at the Cream City Collectives (732 E. Clarke St.) all day on Saturday June 2nd, a brunch spelling-bee and literary trivia at the Riverwest Public House (815 E. Locust St.) on Sunday June 3rd as well as live music, gallery showings and more. 


Individuals and presses involved with the grassroots organization, The Literary Underground, will present a live author reading at the Cream City Collectives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday, June 2nd from 3-5pm as part of The Midwest Small Press Festival. Representatives from Red Fez Publications, Ten Pages Press, The Meth Lab and Covert Press will be on hand to perform their works live as well as offering their books and other associated independent press books for sale at the Polish Falcon across the street. An open mic will be part of the two-hour reading.

Individuals scheduled to perform include:
Michele McDannold lives in central Illinois where she has lived for most of her life. She is the founder of The Literary Underground, a grassroots organization committed to fostering community in the independent press and the Director of Print and Special Projects at Red Fez Publications. She was the founding editor/publisher of the now defunct Rural Messengers Press and is currently the editor of Citizens For Decent Literature, an online and print zine.

Catfish McDaris has written 20 books of poems and prose. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 15 times(many times by Gerald Locklin), he won the Uprising Award (AL) in 1999, the Flash Fiction Award (TX)in 2009 judged by the U.S. Poet Laureate. Featured poet in both the Chiron Review (KS), and The Penny Dreadful Review(TN), the last poet of 1999 in The Shepherd Express(WI). Catfish has been published in The Bukowski Review, Pearl, Slipstream, New York Quarterly, Mad Rush, Louisiana Review, George Mason Univ. Review, and hundreds of other magazines both on line and in print. He’s read at The Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore in Paris, in NYC with Jimmy“the ghost of Hendrix”Spencer, at Allen Ginsberg’s farm with Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman, Janine Pommy Vega, Ray Bremser, Charles Plymell, David Amram (Kerouac’s musical back man), and all the Beatniks left alive in 1998. He’s been translated into Esperanto. 

Frankie Metro was born in Masonville, Iowa and now lives in New Mexico. He is the Head Nonfiction/Associate Fiction Editor at Red Fez Publications where his column, The Left Handed Smoker, runs monthly. Frankie is The Chemist at the online lit journal The Meth Lab. His first chapbook "The Anarchist's Blac Book of Poetry will soon be released by Crisis Chronicles Press.

Michael D. Grover is a resident artist at the Collinwood Arts Center in Toledo, Ohio. He is the founding editor and publisher of Covert Press and the Head Poetry Editor at Red Fez Publications. He is the author of numerous poetry collections including "Transmissions From Third World america", "Love Poems For Toledo" and "Confessions Of An american Outlaw" and his poetry has been published widely in the independent press. Michael has founded and run many literary reading series and was instrumental in bringing Zyfez 2011 to Toledo.

Tim Murray (b.1977) is a lifelong resident of Northwest Indiana. He has hosted the Red Fez blogtalk radio show since 2010. He was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize by NightBallet Press for his poem "Certified Outlaw". His e-chap "What I Did Monday" is available for free download from Ten Pages Press. Tim will be a featured reader at the upcoming Zyfez California event in July.

Tom Janikowski (b. 1968) is a writer of surreal short fiction, spending most of his energy writing unsettling narrative and stream-of-consciousness dialogue heavy with symbolism. He is a native of the south side of Milwaukee, and currently lives and writes in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. His past non-fiction work has ranged from book reviews for Gwiadza Polarna to motivational speaking and speech writing, while his fiction has appeared in online and print journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including Side B Magazine, Red Fez, Metazen, Brain Harvest and others. Represented in the British and European markets by the Monika Luukkonen Literary Agency of Helsinki, he is awaiting the publication of one novella and a collection of short stories. He can be found most easily at his “almost-daily fresh flash fiction” site “A Martini and a Pen,” and at his author site,

A Chicago native and long-time resident of Milwaukee, Russell Streur is now a born-again dissident residing in Johns Creek, Georgia. He operates the world’s original on-line poetry bar, The Camel Saloon at Streur edits the publications associated with Camel Saloon including The Bactrian Room, The Eye of the Needle, The Second Hump and Books on Blog™. He co-founded Poets Democracy in 2010 with Christi Kochifos Caceres. In 2012, he authored the Petition to Free Zhu Yufu and established The Bamboo Forest to support the health, safety and freedom of that dissident Chinese poet and activist. He is a member of Amnesty International, Ars Poetica, the Audubon Society, and the Georgia Poetry Society. Streur is the author of The Muse of Many Names (Poets Democracy, 2011) and Table of Discontents (Ten Pages Press, 2012).

For more information about the festival including an ongoing list and itinerary of events and visiting presses and writers, please visit For more information about The Literary Underground, please go to


Breaking News...

MILWAUKEE, WI. January 4, 2012 -- Illinois and Iowa fictionista Tom Janikowski and Milwaukee poetess Denise Janikowski-Krewal have launched an exciting, new collaborative blog, "the lost beat" at .  The site will feature short experimental fiction and poetry.

Janikowski and Janikowski-Krewal are cousins who both grew up on the south side of Milwaukee but went most of their lives unaware of the other's existence and writing.  After a random meeting in the summer of 2010 they began to lay the groundwork for a collaboration of this nature.  

More information of Mrs. Janikowski-Krewal can be found in her biographical entry  at the Literary Underground Wikipedia.

This Just In...

THE FEZZERY. November 13, 2011 -- Red Fez Publications is pleased to announce their nominations for The Micro Award. 

In a continued effort to promote underground writing, the following stories have been nominated for The Micro Award, presented annually for a work of prose fiction written in English, of any genre, not above 1000 words in length: ?Musketball? by Tom Janikowski and ?The Assignment? by Josh Olsen.

Both stories were published online in 2011.  They can be read in the archives at
From The Micro Award website: 
?The Micro Award was founded in 2008 by author Robert Laughlin to recognize outstanding flash fiction from both print and electronic media.?