Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

October 2015

Literature in Conflict: Syrian Writers Abroad

by Keene Short
Syarian-born writer Mohja Kahf

The civil war in Syria has driven millions of Syrians into forced migration and diaspora, creating a large-scale refugee crisis in Western Asia and Europe. The conflict emerged after the Arab Uprisings of 2011 and early 2012, when Bashar al-Assad’s regime cracked down on the Syrian population through censorship, arrests, and eventual military tactics. However, just as the Assad regime did not wake up one morning and decide to oppress its population, the population did not wake up one morning and decide to resist. The current struggle follows decades of resistance against authoritarian regimes in Syria, and writers have always been a part of that resistance.

Reading and Writing Across Difference at Omaha LitFest 2015

By Rebecca Macijeski, Assistant Editor-Poetry and Sarah Fawn Montgomery, Assistant Editor-Nonfiction

Centered around the subject of anxiety, and featuring panels on diagnosis, treachery, and empathy, the (downtown) Omaha Lit Fest was held on Saturday, October 17th at the W. Dale Clark Library. Moderated by Lit Fest Director and Author of Swan Gondola, Timothy Schaffert, the event brought readers and writers together in a discussion of craft, the connection between narrative and literary responsibility, and anxiety’s influence on literature.


So You Wanna Win a Book Prize?

In honor of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets (open now!) We've revived our interview series about publishing the first book. This week, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with 2014 Sillerman First Book Prize winner Ladan Osman about the process of putting together the manuscript that would become The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony.


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

Alberta Clipper 10/27/15: “Urban Legend” by Denise Duhamel

by Holly Fleck

“It sounds like an urban legend, except it really happened.”

The infamous Axeman of New Orleans, having reigned in terror over the city from May 1918 to October 1919, killed his last victim on October 27, 1919. Mike Pepitone’s wife was surprised to find her living room turned into a blood-splattered canvas, with her husband and a ruined painting of the Virgin Mary at the foreground. Out of the corner of her eye she witnessed an ax-wielding shadow flee into the night.

"Our Essential Bonds": An Interview with Joy Castro

by Keene Short

UNL faculty member Joy Castro recently debuted her fifth book, How Winter Began, a collection of short stories. She is also the author of the novel Nearer Home and Island of Bones, a collection of essays, and is the editor for the anthrology Family Trouble. I asked her a few questions about her newest collection, her ideal audience, and her next writing project.

Contributor Spotlight on Fiona Sze-Lorrain

by Keene Short

This week, we turn the spotlight to Fiona Sze-Lorrain, whose poem “A Matter of Time” appeared in the Winter 2014 edition of Prairie Schooner. In addition, she contributed a Prairie Schooner blog post, “Women and the Global Imagination: Laudomia Bonanni and The Reprisal,” earlier this summer. In Summer 2011, Christina Cook reviewed Sze-Lorrain’s first poetry collection Water the Moon in Prairie Schooner.

So You Wanna Win a Book Prize?

In honor of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets (open now!) We've revived our interview series about publishing the first book. This week, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with Prairie Schooner contributor and poet Hala Alyan about the process of writing her first manuscript, and bringing her first book, Atrium (and her second and third books) to publication.

"Inhabiting three different landscapes at once": An Interview with Laura Woollett

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

The winner of the 2015 Summer Nonfiction contest, judged by Rigoberto González, is Laura Woollett, for her essay "Working Girl." Prairie Schooner Assistant Nonfiction Editor Sarah Fawn Montgomery asked Laura a few questions, resulting in a brief but wide-ranging discussion that touches on adolescence, brevity, Joyce Carol Oates, Vogue, The O.C., Nietzche, memory, and more. Enjoy!

Your winning essay, “Working Girl,” explores female adolescence using irony and humor to move the story beyond mere teenage angst. The piece accomplishes this task in just a few short pages. What roles did compression and brevity play in your writing process? How do they work with—or perhaps because of—the subject matter?

Coda to Interview with Kate Southwood

In which interviews never end because conversations never end. Last week, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson interviewed novelist Kate Southwood about the process of writing and publishing her first book, the critically acclaimed Falling to Earth. After the interview, the conversation kept going. Here's a little bit more from the generous Kate Southwood about negotiating her roles as mother and writer.

Can you say a little bit more about the periods of time when you were not-writing, but still working on the composing process? How do you balance the work of parenting with the writing work that you do?

Alberta Clipper 10/13/15: “Listening to the Paint” by Rachel Dacus

by Summer Bethune

On October 13, 2012, Gerhard Richter, a German visual artist, set an auction record price for artwork sold by a living artist with his painting Abstraktes Bild. It sold for $34 million, but that record held only until 2013 when his piece, Domplatz, Mailand sold for $37.1 million in New York. Finally, Abstraktes Bild exceeded the record again in February 2015 when it was sold again, this time for $44.52 million in London.