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2020 Prairie Schooner Raz-Shumaker Book Prize Contest Winners Announced

Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced the winners of its annual Prairie Schooner Raz-Shumaker Prize for poetry and short fiction collections. The winners were chosen from more than 1,200 submissions from around the world.

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction for 2020 goes to Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry for her manuscript What Isn’t Remembered, chosen by guest-judges Kaylie Jones and Timothy Schaffert with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication from the University of Nebraska Press. A Russian-Armenian émigré, Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry has published more than forty stories, some essays, and poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Southern Review, the Indiana Review, Gulf CoastTriQuarterly, Flyway, Prairie Schooner, Slice, NimrodArts & Letters, Confrontation, and elsewhere. Her short fiction was selected as a finalist for multiple awards, including six Pushcart nominations. Kristina is the winner of the 2013 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Tennessee Williams scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her debut novel, The Orchardwill be published by Ballantine/Random in 2022. 

Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry, Fiction Prize Winner

The winner of the 2020 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry is Susan Nguyen for her manuscript Dear Diaspora, chosen by guest-judges Matthew Dickman, Kate Daniels, and Hilda Raz with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication from the University of Nebraska Press. Susan Nguyen hails from Virginia but currently lives and writes in Arizona. She received her MFA in poetry from Arizona State University. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and the Aleida Rodriguez Memorial Prize. In 2018, PBS Newshour featured her as "one of three women poets to watch," and she was a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared in Tin House, diagram, Nimrod, and elsewhere. 

Susan Nguyen, Poetry Prize Winner

This year’s finalist manuscripts in fiction were “Are We Ever Even Our Own” by Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes, “Men Are Fools” by Obinna Udenwe, “Three Trips” by Sindya Bhanoo, “Almost Best” by Sharon Hashimoto, and “Heartwood” by Karla Huebner. This year’s poetry finalists were Alonso Llerena for “La Casa Roja,” L.A. Johnson for “Twenty-Seven Nights in the Wonder Valley,” Quincy Scott Jones for “How to Kill Yourself Instead of Your Children,” Jason B. Crawford for “The Year of the Unicorn Kidz,” Julia Thacker for “Dead Letter Office,” Greg Wrenn for “Origin,” and Devon Walker-Figueroa for “Lazarus Species.”

The competition runs January 15 to March 15 annually. Submission details and a list of past winners are available online at http://prairieschooner.unl.edu/?q=book-prize/past-winners.

Founded in 1926, Prairie Schooner is a national literary quarterly published with the support of the English Department at UNL. It publishes fiction, poetry, essays and reviews by beginning, mid-career, and established writers.