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Prairie Schooner News

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.

 

Summer 2020 Issue Now Available

Summer in Nebraska is a season of storms—of heat and thunder and lightning. Our Summer 2020 issue opens with a rumble in a set of four new poems from Martín Espada. In "Boxer Wears America First Shorts in Bout with Mexican, Finishes Second," hooks answer jabs, and Lightning Rod—in his red, white, and blue "border wall trunks"—indeed takes the heat.

Stories from Troy Onyango, Kate St. Vincent, and Wandeka GayleI rush their characters headlong into pressing questions about family. In Onyango's "Run," "Hosea, simply put, does not know who or what his family is, and that is why he is surprised when his father shouts, 'Run!'". In Vogl's "Saginaw, 1977," it's a father who must move quickly, and "when you tell him, he breaks out in a run. First time you've ever seen him do it outside a show ring." In Gayle's "Walker Woman," Sophia races outside into the rain to check on an older neighbor. "'Tornado coming. It not safe," she said, sheltering them both with the large striped umbrella. 'How you get here?'" But her elder is in no hurry. "'I walked,' the woman said, casually." In Sakena Abedin's "Peepli," the sun comes out. "Right after he left," Peepli confesses, "I went outside into the backyard and stood barefoot on the grass and felt the sun warm my head. I have never felt as free as I did in that moment, even though I didn't do anything but turn around after a few minutes and go back inside." Vincent Yu's "Buddy" brims similarly with the ache of possibility: "You've learned over the past few months that life proceeds like beads sliding down a string, and each moment holds a kind of whispering possibility that could expand and fundamentally alter the pattern of who you become."

The poems sizzle and crackle, too. "These are yours. Take your words & let them burn / to ash, so the flame of them cinders the message & / stings your taste buds, so you inhale your own grit," writes Felicia Zamora, in "Negative Compliment or Contemplations on Racist Rhetoric." In "The Text I Will Not Sent to My Husband," Lori Ann Gravley bluntly says what she won't be texting: "Here's your fucking purpose, to learn / how love lives in the world, what's in front of you." And in "Death Invented For Us," Jeremy Voigt's speaker insists "I know, I said, I know, I know, I know both the question,/ the answer, the banded-after, none of which really exists." The issue also features new poems from Alicia Ostriker, Martha Collins, Jill Bialosky, Matthew Gavin Frank, Jess Williard, Daniel Lassell, Paul Dickey, Emily Tuszynska, Susan Landgraf, Brooke Sahni, Peter Grandbois, Stephen Hundley, Michael Joyce, Derek Ellis, Claudia M. Reder, Partridge Boswell, David Ebenbach, Susan Cohen, Casey Thayer, Jazelle Jajeh, Meg Eden, and Linda Malnack.

For fans of creative nonfiction, this issue features last year's nonfiction contest finalists, Sarah Terez Rosenblum and Jeremy Faro, selected by Melissa Febos. (FYI: This year's nonfiction contest is now open, and judged by Sarah M. Broom!) Rosenblum opens her essay "How to Be" with a series of confessions: "I'm like one of those kids who survived a plane crash because a pack of wolves adopted him. ... No one taught me the right way to be Jewish." Faro, in "Placelessness," looks at the history, both personal and cultural, of Provincetown. Past Glenna Luschei Award winner Julie Marie Wade is back, this time with a new essay on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Melissa Holbrook Pierson considers "Smoking in Wartime" and Megan J. Arlett writes "On Castration."

Asa Drake reviews Victoria Chang again, this time considering her latest, Obit, and Michael McCarthy, in his first published piece, offers an insightful look at past nonfiction contest judge Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House.

You can order the new summer issue, or if all this sounds good and you trust us to put together four issues a year that are just as compelling, please consider purchasing a subscription to a full year of Prairie Schooner. In addition to the brand new Summer Issue, subscribers can look forward to our fall issue in September, read a special winter portfolio guest-edited by Mahtem Shiferraw in December, and support us on into 2021—when we'll celebrate our 95th birthday.

2020 Prairie Schooner Award Winners Announced!

Thanks to generous supporters of the literary arts, Prairie Schooner was able to award eighteen writing prizes totaling $9,500 for work published by established and emerging writers in 2019.

Maurine Ogbaa of Houston, TX, received the $1,500 Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award for her story “The Men in Her Life,” published in the Winter 2019 issue. The Glenna Luschei Award is made possible by the generosity of poet, publisher, and philanthropist Glenna Luschei.

The $2,000 Lawrence Foundation Award for the best short story published in Prairie Schooner in 2019 was given to Ọlákìtán Aládéṣuyì of Lagos, Nigeria, for her story “Girl of my dreams” from the Winter 2019 issue. This prize is made possible by the Lawrence Foundation of New York City and its director, Leonard S. Bernstein.

The $1,000 Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing was given to E.J. Koh, of Seattle, WA, for her essay “How to Age with Grace” from the Summer 2019 issue. The Faulkner Award is supported by charitable contributions to honor Virginia Faulkner, former editor-in-chief of the University of Nebraska Press and Prairie Schooner fiction editor.

The $1,000 Edward Stanley Award for poetry was given to Rewa Zeinati, of Dearborn Heights, MI, for five poems in the Summer 2019 issue. This award is made possible through charitable contributions from the family of Edward Stanley, a member of the committee that founded Prairie Schooner in 1926.

The $500 Bernice Slote Award for the best work by a beginning writer was given to Benjamin Keoseyan, of Tucson, AZ, for four poems in the Summer 2019 issue. The Slote Award is supported by the estate of Bernice Slote, Prairie Schooner editor from 1963 through 1980.

The $500 Annual Prairie Schooner Strousse Award for the best poem or group of poems was given to He Xiang of New York, NY, for seven poems in the Fall 2019 issue. The Strousse Award is given in honor of Flora Strousse.

The $250 Hugh J. Luke Award was given to Lynne Knight of Royston, British Columbia, for four poems in the Fall 2019 issue. The Hugh J. Luke Award was established in memory of Prairie Schooner’s editor from 1980 through 1987.

The $250 Jane Geske Award was given to Kenan Orhan of Kansas City, MO, for his story “Three Instances in Which Emre Kills His Daughters” from the Spring 2019 issue. The award is given by Norman Geske in honor of his wife, Jane Geske, a lifelong support of Nebraska’s literary arts.

Ten writers received annual Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Awards for $250 each. These awards are made possible through the generosity of Glenna Luschei.

Eric Tran, of Asheville, NC, for his three poems in the Summer issue

Kian Rank, of Minneapolis, MN, for their three poems in the Spring issue

Donald Platt, of West Lafayette, IN, for his two poems in the Winter issue

Molly Spencer, of Plymouth, MI, for her six poems in the Summer issue

Rochelle Hurt, of Pittsburgh, PA, for her essay “Lifespans” in the Fall issue

Frank X. Gaspar, of Long Beach, CA, for his poem “Blues” in the Winter issue

Courtney Sender, of Cambridge, MA, for her story “To Do with the Body” in the Winter issue

Elizabeth Bevilacqua, of Pittsfield, MA, for her essay “Cycles” in the Winter issue

Cam Rentsch, of Chicago, IL, for the essay “East of Aztlán” in the Sumer issue

Obinna Udenwe, of Ebonyi, Nigeria, for his story “John 101, or The New Ridiculous Way to Commit Suicide and Be Famous” in the Spring issue

Prairie Schooner is published with support from the University of Nebraska Press, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department and its creative writing program, and the Glenna Luschei Endowed Editorship and Fund for Excellence at Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska Foundation. Subscriptions may be ordered by visiting http://prairieschooner.unl.edu. You can also follow Prairie Schooner on Twitter and Facebook.

Heather Johnson Wins 2017 Summer Nonfiction Contest

 

Heather Johnson

(photo by Catherine Anne Hubka)

 

Prairie Schooner is pleased to name Heather Johnson the winner of the 2017 Summer Nonfiction Contest, judged by Esmé Weijun Wang, for her essay “Nowhere Place.” Johnson will receive a prize of $250, and her essay will appear in the Spring 2018 edition of Prairie Schooner. Heather Johnson is a Diné woman from the Navajo Nation, currently residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she is a second-year MFA in the University of New Mexico’s Creative Writing Program. She is working on a novel while also writing poetry and personal essays. Her work has appeared in Sigma Tau Delta’s Rectangle, Anti-Heroin Chic, and she was a blog contributor to Blue Mesa Review. Her subjects are surviving personal and historical traumas, marginalized identities, reverence for the body and natural world, and the landscape as sacred. She is the mother of a beautiful six-year-old boy and a founding member of the Trigger Warning Writers Group.

 

>Esmé Weijun Wang

 

Esmé Weijun Wang, the judge of this year’s contest, is a novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was named a Best Book of 2016 by NPR and one of the 25 Best Novels of 2016 by Electric Literature. She is the recipient of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias; her work has appeared in the Believer, Hazlitt, Elle, Catapult, and Eater. She can be found at esmewang.com and on Twitter @esmewang.

Wang said of Johnson’s winning essay, “‘Nowhere Place' is a searing essay that connects individual mental health with intergenerational trauma. The turns of phrase are often elegant and surprising, and never overdone. I commend the writer’s use of Native history in bringing light to current circumstances; their experience draws ever-widening circles of clarity and complexity.”

 

Melissa Falivenol

 

This year’s runner-up is Melissa Faliveno’s essay “Finger of God.” Wang commented, “I am impressed by the deft structure used in ‘Finger of God,’ which brings fresh insight to the experience of growing up with tornadoes; its sense of place is certain, its prose clean.” Melissa Faliveno's essays have appeared in DIAGRAM, Midwestern Gothic, Isthmus, Lumina, and Green Mountains Review, and received a notable citation in Best American Essays 2016. An essay about her time as a roller derby skater appeared in the book Derby Life, published by Gutpunch Press in 2015. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she teaches workshops in magazine writing. She lives in New York City, where she is the senior editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, plays in the band Self Help, and is at work on a collection of essays.

Last year’s winner was E. M. Tran, whose essay “Miss Saigon” appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Prairie Schooner; she was interviewed by Assistant Nonfiction Editor Sarah Fawn Montgomery for our blog. Montgomery also interviewed this year’s guest editor Esmé Weijun Wang.

Learn more about Prairie Schooner on our website, and considering subscribing to receive more great nonfiction, poetry, and fiction.

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.

Fall 2017 Issue Now Available

Prairie Schooner Fall 2017

 

The Fall 2017 issue of the Prairie Schooner is out now and making its way to bookstores and subscribers’ mailboxes everywhere. This new issue features essays, poetry, and prose by Kirstin Allio, José Angel Araguz, and Rachel Toliver among many others.

The beautiful cover of the Fall 2017 issue, titled “If You Want Blood” and depicting a crowd of people standing close together in what appears to be a massive protest was painted by Byron Anway, an artist and educator living in Lincoln, NE. He has taught at universities as far flung as Belgium’s International School of Brussels and Morocco’s American Academy-Casablanca in Morocco and as close to home as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where Prairie Schooner is housed. To see more of Anway’s work, visit his website.

Inside the issue, you will be greeted with tender yet intense poetry by Fadwa Soleiman, translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Hacker. We were sad to hear of Soleiman’s passing in August, but we hope that sharing these poems will provide a lasting tribute to her. Additionally, we feature two-time NEA fellowship recipient Donald Platt, whose latest book, Man Praying, is out now from Parlor Press/Free Verse Editions, as well as José Angel Araguz, a CantoMundo fellow and author of six chapbooks and two collections.

Among our essayists, you’ll find Melissa R. Sipin’s beautifully hewn piece, “The Shape of My Mother’s Body.” Sipin has published widely, coedited Kwento: Lost Things (an Anthology of New Philippine Myths), out with Carayan Press, and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ conference, and more. Other essayists include Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, finalist for the Miller Williams Prize and the Lambda Literary Award, and Sean Prentiss, award-winning author of Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave.

In fiction, our authors include Avital Gad-Cykman, author of the flash fiction collection Life In, Life Out and winner of the Margaret Atwood Society Magazine Prize and the Hawthorne Citation Short Story Contest, and Caitlin Kindervatter-Clark, a Steinbeck fellow at San Jose State University who teaches at UC Berkeley Extension.

We hope you read our online selections from these and our other talented contributors in this newest issue, and consider subscribing or purchasing a copy of our new Fall 2017 issue.

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.

 

 

 

2016 Book Prize Winners’ Books Now Available from University of Nebraska Press

2016 Prairie Schooner Book Prize Winners

Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is pleased to announce that our 2016 Book Prize Winners’ books are now available from the University of Nebraska Press and wherever books are sold.

Black Jesus and Other Superheroes by Venita Blackburn won the 2016 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, receiving $3000 and publication by the University of Nebraska Press. Blackburn has made “an indelible impression with her first collection of short stories” according to Foreword’s starred review, and Aimee Bender called the book “electrically alive, funny, real.” Black Jesus and Other Superheroes was selected by guest-judges Jennine Capó Crucet and Helon Habila with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. Venita Blackburn is an English instructor at Arizona State University, and her stories have appeared in numerous publications, including American Short Fiction, Faultline, the Georgia Review, and SmokeLong Quarterly. She was awarded a Bread Loaf fellowship and a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2014. Blackburn is from Compton, California and earned her MFA from Arizona State University. She now lives and teaches in Phoenix.

The Zoo at Night by Susan Gubernat won the 2016 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, receiving $3000 and publication by the University of Nebraska Press. Called a “grand tour of the many ways that the world, arriving directly under our noses, can remain, everlastingly, embodied and mysterious” by Mark Svenvold, the collection has been described as full of “poems of meticulous craftsmanship, luminous apprehension, and unfailing heart” by Linder Gregerson. The Zoo at Night was selected by Valzhyna Mort and Hilda Raz with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. Susan Gubernat She is the author of Flesh, winner of the Marianne Moore Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Analog House. An opera librettist, her major work, Korczak’s Orphans, in collaboration with composer Adam Silverman, has been performed in a number of venues. She is a professor of English at California State University, East Bay, and lives in Oakland, California.

We hope both Blackburn and Gubernat will visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus this coming spring for Prairie Schooner’s Annual Book Prize Reading and Celebration. Be sure to check out their work prior to their visit, and get your books ready to be signed! Both The Zoo at Night and Black Jesus and Other Superheroes are available to purchase from the University of Nebraska Press.

The competition, now in its fifteenth year, runs January 15 to March 15 annually. Submission details and a list of past winners are available online.

 

2017 Book Prize Winners Announced

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

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction for 2017 goes to Sara Batkie for her manuscript Better Times, chosen by guest-judges Chigozie Obioma and Christine Sneed with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication from the University of Nebraska Press. Batkie was born in Seattle and raised in the wilds of Connecticut and Iowa, where she received her BA in English from the University of Iowa in 2008. She left for the big city soon after to pursue her Masters in Creative Writing at New York University and graduated from the Fiction program in 2010. Her stories have been published in various journals, received mention in the 2011 Best American Short Stories anthology, and, most recently, honored with a 2017 Pushcart Prize. Currently she lives in Brooklyn and works as the Writing Programs Director for The Center for Fiction.

Sarah Batkie, Fiction Prize Winner

The winner of the 2017 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry is Luisa Muradyan Tannahill for her manuscript American Radiance, chosen by guest-judges Shara McCallum and Hilda Raz with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication from the University of Nebraska Press. Tannahill is originally from Odessa, Ukraine, and is currently a doctoral student in poetry at the University of Houston. Luisa received her MFA from Texas State University and currently serves as the Editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. She was the recipient of the 2016 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry and has had work appear in Poetry International, West Branch, Ninth Letter, the Los Angeles Review, Rattle, and the Paris-American, among others. 

Luisa Muradyan Tannahill, Poetry Prize Winner

The competition, now in its fifteenth year, 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.

2017 Prairie Schooner Award Winners Announced!

Thanks to generous supporters of the literary arts, Prairie Schooner was able to award eighteen writing prizes totaling $8,500 for work published by established and emerging writers in 2016.

Denise Duhamel


Julie Marie Wade

Denise Duhamel and Julie Marie Wade of Hollywood, Florida, received the $1,500 Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award for their collaborative essay “13 Superstitions” published in the Fall 2016 issue. The Glenna Luschei Award is made possible by the generosity of poet, publisher, and philanthropist Glenna Luschei.

David Crouse

The $1,000 Lawrence Foundation Award for the best short story published in Prairie Schooner in 2016 was given to David Crouse, of Seattle, WA, for his story “I’m Here” from the Spring 2016 issue. This prize is made possible by the Lawrence Foundation of New York City and its director, Leonard S. Bernstein.

Alireza Araghi

The $1,000 Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing was given to Alireza Taheri Araghi, of St. Louis, MO, for his story “Snow” from the Fall 2016 issue. The Faulkner Award is supported by charitable contributions to honor Virginia Faulkner, former editor-in-chief of the University of Nebraska Press and Prairie Schooner fiction editor.

Genevieve Williams

The $1,000 Edward Stanley Award for poetry was given to Genevieve Williams, of Omaha, NE, for four poems in the Fall 2016 issue. This award is made possible through charitable contributions from the family of Edward Stanley, a member of the committee that founded Prairie Schooner in 1926.

The $500 Bernice Slote Award for the best work by a beginning writer was given to Kaitlyn Teer, of Bellingham, WA, for her essay “Drawing A Breath” from the Summer 2016 issue. The Slote Award is supported by the estate of Bernice Slote, Prairie Schooner editor from 1963 through 1980.

The $500 Annual Prairie Schooner Strousse Award for the best poem or group of poems was given to David Campos of Clovis, CA, for three poems in the special food-themed portfolio of the Winter 2016 issue. The Strousse Award is given in honor of Flora Strousse.

The $250 Hugh J. Luke Award was given to Rigoberto Gonzalez for his essay “Adelina” in the Spring 2016 issue. The Hugh J. Luke Award was established in memory of Prairie Schooner’s editor from 1980 through 1987.

The $250 Jane Geske Award was given to Rachel Heng of London, UK, for her story “The Vegetarian” from the Summer 2016 issue. The award is given by Norman Geske in honor of his wife, Jane Geske, a lifelong support of Nebraska’s literary arts.

Ten writers received annual Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Awards for $250 each. These awards are made possible through the generosity of Glenna Luschei.

Matthew Shenoda, of Evanston, IL, for his essay “Damming the Nile” in the Summer issue

Brynne Rebele-Henry, of Richmond, VA, for her story “The Small Elf People” in the Summer issue

Kirun Kapur, of Amesbury, MA, for her poem “Parvati at Her Bath” in the Summer issue

Afaa Michael Weaver, of West Conway, CT, for his poem, “East Baltimore, Fried Chicken,” in the Winter issue

Christopher Salerno, of Caldwell, NJ, for his poem “Sorrow, Architecture,” in the Fall issue

Philip Huynh, of Richmond, British Columbia for the story “The Abalone Diver” in the Winter issue

Laura Kolbe, of Boston, MA, for her poem, “Garter, Copper, Water” in the Winter issue

Paul Martin, of Allentown, PA, for his poem “The Radish,” in the Spring issue

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of Oxford, MS, for the essay “How to Make Halo-Halo Last” in the Winter issue

Kerry Cullen, of Queens, NY, for her story “Parts” in the Spring issue

Prairie Schooner is published with support from the University of Nebraska Press, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department and its creative writing program, and the Glenna Luschei Endowed Editorship and Fund for Excellence at Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska Foundation. Subscriptions may be ordered by visiting http://prairieschooner.unl.edu. You can also follow Prairie Schooner on Twitter and Facebook.

Prairie Schooner Announces Pushcart Prize Nominees

Pushcart Prize

We're proud to announce Prairie Schooner’s six nominations for the Pushcart Prize. At the end of our 90th year of continuous publication, it’s momentous to reflect back on all the work we’ve been able to share with readers. We're proud to highlight these pieces from 2016:

“Clean” by Kathie Giorgio (story)

“Brink” by Genevieve N. Williams (poem)

"Vegetarian” by Rachel Heng (story)

“The Bee’s Gospel” by Ladan Osman (poem)

“The Pepper King” by Aimee Nezhukamatathil (poem)

“Drawing a Breath” by Kaity Teer (essay)

Congratulations to our nominees! Click any of the titles above to read the piece in full. For more great poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews, subscribe to Prairie Schooner today.

E.M. Tran Wins 2016 Summer Nonfiction Contest

 

E. M. Tran

 

Prairie Schooner is pleased to name E. M. Tran the winner of the 2016 Summer Nonfiction Contest, judged by Kiese Laymon, for her essay “Miss Saigon.” Tran will receive a prize of $250, and her essay will appear in the Spring 2017 edition of Prairie Schooner. E. M. Tran is a Vietnamese American fiction writer from New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her MFA from the University of Mississippi, and she is currently pursuing her PhD in Fiction at Ohio University. Her work is also forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review. Visit www.elizabethmtran.com.

 

Kiese Laymon

 

Kiese Laymon, the judge of this year's prize, is a black southern writer best known for his essays and fiction. The author of two books, the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and the Others in America and the novel Long Division, Laymon is currently an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, PEN Journal, the Oxford American, and Guernica. He is a currently a columnist at the Guardian, and two more books—a memoir, Heavy, and a second novel, And So On—are forthcoming from Scribner.

Laymon said of Tran's essay: “In way more ways than I'd like to admit, stories of survivorship necessitate multiple threads because no one earth is a survivor of just one trauma, villain or love. The essay, ‘Miss Saigon’ renders survivorship in its multifaceted, multigenerational, geographically varied wonder. In a contest filled some of the best essays I've read in the 21st century, no essay made as much use of the literal and emotional space as ‘Miss Saigon.’ It reminded me that stories of immigration are necessary stories lost and found, or performative longing and necessary shedding. It is absolutely amazing art.”

 

Boyer Rickel


(photo credit John Levy)

Boyer Rickel's essay “Morgan: A Lyric” is this year's runner-up. Laymon called Rickel's essay "easily the most structurally creative of all the essays I read. The piece, in many ways, necessitates an innovative structure because of what it's doing with the body's shell, the body's insides, the body's invariable breaking. The piece is the literal story of life, love, misdirection and death. I felt it, heard what I shouldn't have heard, and will remember how the piece looked as it quaked for the rest of my writing life." Boyer Rickel's publications include two poetry collections, remanence (Parlor) and arreboles (Wesleyan), a memoir-in-essays, Taboo (Wisconsin), and a poetry chapbook, reliquary (Seven Kitchens). Recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arizona Commission on the Arts, he taught in the University of Arizona creative writing program for twenty years. “Morgan: A Lyric” is the final section of a four-part sequence by the same title. The first part won the Tupelo Quarterly 2014 prose award; the second appeared in Guernica.

Editor Kwame Dawes said of the contest, now in its fifth year, “Each year, I become increasingly appreciative of Sara Fawn Montgomery, our Assistant Nonfiction Editor who initiated this exciting contest which has brought us such startling riches as the two writers we are celebrating here, and of course, our judge Kiese Laymon.  Tran’s piece is engrossing and wholly engaging while being elegantly constructed and powerfully enlightening. And it is impossible to walk away from the rollicking formal play with time and idea in Rickel’s work without concluding, well, how else but this way can such a story be told?  Our journal, and, by extension, our readers are wholly enriched by these wonderful new stories.”

Last year’s winner was Laura Elizabeth Woollet, whose essay “Working Girl” appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of Prairie Schooner. The previous year’s winner, Aurvi Sharma’s essay “Eleven Stories of Water and Stone” was recently listed as “notable” in Best American Essays 2016, and the previous year’s winner, Melissa Febos’s essay “Call My Name,” was also listed as a Best American notable in 2015. To read Assistant Nonfiction Editor Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s interview with judge Kiese Laymon, visit http://prairieschooner.unl.edu/blog/evil-and-joy-and-other-mushy-part-between-interview-kiese-laymon. To learn more about Prairie Schooner, the latest issues, and how to subscribe, visit https://prairieschooner.unl.edu.

 

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