Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

"Who is American? How do we decide, and who decides?" an interview with E.M. Tran

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

SFM: Why are you drawn to the genre of nonfiction? What about its history or form speaks to you? What compels you to write about truth, history, and your own experience?

"Too hurt by the light not to write about it": a conversation with Emily Skaja

The Sillerman First Book Prize closes today! To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, award-winning poet (and future winner of the Pulitzer) Emily Skaja talks to her best friend and one-time roommate about Lucie Brock-Broido, how sending out your unsolicited manuscript is almost exactly like sexting, and whether or not the void can be said to GAF.

Dear Emily: Can you tell me about your first book? What's it about? What does it do?

Hope Wabuke on the work of the poet

The Sillerman First Book Prize closes soon! To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, UNL's own award-winning poet Hope Wabuke discusses finding her way into form, her enduring love for Sharon Olds, and what she's reading and teaching right now.

How many books have you published, and where?

"I began each day by wrestling a tiger": an Interview with Steven Church

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

One with the Tiger, Steven Church’s fifth book of nonfiction, is a book-length essay both animal and human, a hybrid text that confronts readers with power and earnestness through subject and craft. Inspired by the story of David Villalobos, a young man who jumped into the tiger pen at the Bronx Zoo, Church takes a leap of his own—to explore animal instinct alongside human wildness, to trace that wavering line between predator and prey, civilized and savage. Weaving reflections on animal violence and human fear with extensive research about everything from Charla Nash to the Werner Herzog documentary, Grizzly Man, the book is Montaignian in approach, taking up the classic essay’s attempt to understand the self by following the mind, form mirroring intellectual endeavor.

"I tried to be ruthless": poet Kirun Kapur on editing a first manuscript

The Sillerman First Book Prize is now open through December 1st. To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, poet Kirun Kapur discusses her award-winning book Visiting Indira Gandhi's Palmist, and all the 'glinting' in the manuscript that didn't make the cut. 

Describe the process of constructing your first manuscript. How did you conceive of ordering the collection?

'GREAT JUST GREAT ALL IS GREAT BEAUTY IS EVERYWHERE': An interview with Ruth Madievsky

The Sillerman First Book Prize is now open through December 1st. To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, an interview with poet and   Prairie Schooner  contributor Ruth Madievsky. Her book "Emergency Brake," was a selection of Tavern Books' 2015 Wrolstad Series. Here, Ruth talks brutal tinkering, genre-hopping, and writing non-fiction in the age of Maggie Nelson.

How many books have you published, and where?

Emergency Brake is my first and only.

Hera Naguib on "the violent essence of any creative activity"

The Sillerman First Book Prize is now open through December 1st. To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, an interview with poet and Prairie Schooner contributor Hera Naguib on constructing her first book and the joys and difficulties of working in the Pakistani literary scene.

What are you working on right now?

I'm working on my first collection of poetry which deals loosely with the idea of personal origin. These poems are about family, myths, and my relationship with the city I live in, which is Lahore.

Describe the process of constructing your first manuscript. How are you conceiving of ordering the collection?

'You just need one person to fall in love deeply': An interview with fiction writer Nina McConigley

The Sillerman First Book Prize is now open through December 1st. To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, fiction writer Nina McConigley discusses her PEN Open Award-winning short story collection, Cowboys and East Indians; the sometimes fraught road to publication for a short story collection; and a certain special Coors Light t-shirt.

How many books have you published, and where?

2016 Sillerman winner Safia Elhillo on honoring "a crooked sort of syntax"

The Sillerman First Book Prize is now open through December 1st. To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, poet Safia Elhillo discusses her forthcoming award-winning book The January Children now available for pre-order!), what it was like to win the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, and her enduring love of her sometime muse, Abdelhalim Hafez.

Describe the process of making the manuscript. How did you conceive of the poems together?

"I thought what I survived deserved recognition": the poetry of Paul Tran

The Sillerman First Book Prize is now open through December 1st. To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, poet Paul Tran discusses poetry's inextricable relationship with history, the examination of power in their work, and the process of constructing their first full-length manuscript.

What are you working on right now?

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