Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Prairie Schooner News

Newly-Expanded Office Grand Opening


The weeks of hammering and painting are finally over, and just before Thanksgiving we celebrated our office expansion with hors d’oeuvres and a ribbon cutting, complete with oversized novelty scissors!  Editor-in-chief Kwame Dawes gave a spirited speech to commemorate the grand re-opening, and UNL English Department Chair Susan Belasco (pictured above) made the coveted snip.

The expanded space opens up a new office for the African Poetry Book Fund as well as additional workspace for Prairie Schooner interns.  At the ribbon-cutting, editor Kwame Dawes spoke highly of intern contributions, saying, "They do fantastic work. They will do real editorial work, and they do it gratefully and gladly."

Special thanks also to Susan Belasco and LeAnn Messing, who did so much to make the expansion happen, and to Lorna Dawes for her fabulous Prairie Schooner-themed cake!  You can view more pics from the event on our Facebook page.

FUSION 7 Now Online


FUSION 7, featuring fifteen poems by Filipino writers and fifteen poems from the Prairie Schooner archives (including work by Joyce Carol Oates, John Kinsella, and Alice Friman), centers around the theme of trees, and is now available online.  This latest FUSION also includes photos by Maggie Tobin (her First Snow is pictured above) and Maxine Syjuco.  You can view the rest of FUSION’s photos and poems here.

The FUSION series is an online, quarterly publication of Prairie Schooner, with each issue presenting poetry, art, and essays from a different country.  Previous FUSIONS (available here) have included poems from Hong Kong, Iran, the Balkans, Australia, India, and Botswana.

Prairie Schooner Office Expansion Begins


Construction has officially begun on the Prairie Schooner office expansion in the University of Nebraska’s Andrews Hall.  The university maintenance crews are tearing down a section of wall to expand the Prairie Schooner offices into the rooms next door (formerly the media center), thus doubling the journal’s office space.  Managing editor Marianne Kunkel (pictured above) was on hand herself to help with the demolition.

The new space will house the office of editor-in-chief Kwame Dawes, a new workspace for the journal’s interns, and a larger meeting and conference area.  Construction is set to be completed in mid-November, well before the launch of the winter issue.

Prairie Schooner Introduces New Publicity Associate Ian Rogers


Prairie Schooner is proud to welcome its new Publicity Associate, Ian Rogers!

Ian is a first-year MA student in creative writing who brings to Prairie Schooner his two years experience as marketing assistant for the Villa Augustina Academy in his home state of New Hampshire. He holds a BA from Bennington College in Vermont, and has also worked as a transcribing proofreader, a watershed protection steward, and a teacher of English in Japan.

Ian looks forward to writing Prairie Schooner news and to helping promote the journal in his new position. You can watch for his press releases on the Prairie Schooner news blog, http://www.prairieschooner.unl.edu/?q=prairie-schooner-news, and the UNL website.

Prairie Schooner Welcomes Web Editor Paul Hanson Clark

Prairie Schooner is delighted to introduce its new web editor, Paul Hanson Clark!

Paul is a graduate of UNL with a double major in English (specializing in creative writing) and broadcasting (specializing in production) and with a minor in history.  Paul previously worked as listings editor for Omaha’s alternative weekly newspaper The Reader, where he managed web content. Paul is also a co-founder of SP CE (pronounced “Space”), a poetry studio in downtown Lincoln.  His poems have appeared in Red Lightbulbs.

"These transitions are never easy,” said Prairie Schooner editor Kwame Dawes, “especially after establishing an easy and effective working relationship with our outgoing web editor, Eric Jones, but thankfully Paul brings to this position many years of experience in finding ways to take art to the wider community through digital media and through his own arts initiatives.  He is a sharp and conscientious copyeditor, a thoughtful writer, and a man who is savvy about the opportunities that social media brings to the arts world.  Just these qualities would make him an excellent choice, but he adds to all that the very necessary assured skills with web design and web functionality.  We are looking forward to seeing how his ideas, vision, and skills will help advance the work we are doing here at Prairie Schooner."

The Prairie Schooner is looking forward to working with Paul and is glad to have him as part of our team.

Air Schooner Hosts Scott Winter and Stacey Waite to Be Featured on NET’s Friday Live

On September 20 at 9 a.m., UNL faculty members Scott Winter and Stacey Waite will head to the NET studio to discuss Prairie Schooner’s Air Schooner podcast on NET public radio’s Friday Live arts program.

“This is a great opportunity for Air Schooner and NET to build a storytelling partnership,” said Winter, assistant professor of journalism and co-host of Air Schooner.  “You have two departments from two colleges working together with NET as a third partner to bring these great writers to households all over Nebraska.”

Winter’s co-host, assistant professor of English Stacey Waite, recalled some of her favorite Air Schooner moments.  “In ‘Embedded Poet,’ I had the opportunity to interview poet and Iraqi war veteran Brian Turner, whose insights about the US occupation of Iraq and the soldiers’ daily lives were, for me, the most powerful moments on Air Schooner. We want our listeners to engage with the subject of writing, but we also want them to learn about the lives and minds of writers.”

Winter and Waite have hosted Air Schooner since 2012.  The podcast, under executive producer Kwame Dawes, features interviews and readings from poets, novelists, and short story writers, and has interviewed guests such as ZZ Packer, Lynn Emanuel, Aaron Belz, Denise Duhamel, Joy Harjo, and Nikola Madzirov.  Its logo is “Listening that moves you.”

Friday Live, NET’s weekly arts and entertainment program, spotlights music, theater, visual art, literature, and film throughout Nebraska.  It typically broadcasts from The Mill restaurant in Lincoln’s Haymarket district.

Friday Live will air this Friday, September 20, at 9 a.m on NET radio, online at http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/radio/radio, and at KUCV 91.1 FM in the Lincoln area.  Visit the NET website for a full list of radio network stations.  The program will be made available online as a podcast later that day.

Prairie Schooner Announces 2013 Book Prize Winners

The winner of the 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in poetry is R.A. Villanueva for his manuscript Reliquaria. His writing has appeared in AGNI, Gulf Coast, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Bellevue Literary Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. A founding editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art, his honors include the 2013 Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry, fellowships from Kundiman and The Asian American Literary Review, and scholarships from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. He is currently a Language Lecturer at New York University and lives in Brooklyn.

The winner of the 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in fiction is Amina Gautier for her manuscript Now We Will Be Happy. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of the short story collection At-Risk (U of Georgia P), which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. More than seventy-five of her stories have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as Antioch Review, Callaloo, Chattahoochee Review, Crazyhorse, Glimmer Train, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, and Southern Review, among others. Her work has received scholarships and fellowships from the Breadloaf Writer's Conference, Callaloo Writer’s Conference, Hurston/Wright Foundation, Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and others, as well as artist grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She received her B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from Stanford University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.

Both will receive a $3,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press. Their books will be available in September 2014.


Prairie Schooner Launches New iOS app Global Schooner


Prairie Schooner, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s literary journal, will release its mobile app on May 1.  The mobile app, titled Global Schooner: A World of Prairie Schooner Writers, features an interactive global map that pinpoints the location of authors from past Prairie Schooner issues, offering users unprecedented access to author biographies, videos, interviews, and more. 

Global Schooner features profiles from more than 300 authors from around the globe who have been published in the prestigious literary journal run by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s English department for the last 87 years.  Forty-five author profiles have expanded content, including audio and video of exclusive interviews and readings.  The app also provides links to Prairie Schooner’s blog, podcast, and other online content.  App users may purchase an issue of Prairie Schooner or subscribe to the quarterly using the app. 

The mobile app will become available for download on iTunes on May 1st at midnight and is free.  Users can pay for the “Guide to Customs” feature, which allows access to additional content for $2.99.  The app features pinpoints on a Google Earth interface that designate the location of authors published in Prairie Schooner.  By clicking on pinpoints, app users can read the bios of authors and access other digital media compiled by Prairie Schooner

Managing Editor and app creator, Marianne Kunkel, explained how the app release fits into Prairie Schooner’s mission as a literary journal: "Prairie Schooner's tagline is 'Writing that Moves You' and this app does just that. What we've created is cutting-edge--a Table of Contents that is sortable by our contributors' places of origin, each one pinpointed on a user-friendly, spin-able globe. Browsing our journal on our app turns readers into literary travelers."

App users can access audio and video files featuring Martha Collins, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Nance van Winckel, and others. New content will be uploaded to the app each year. 

In addition, Prairie Schooner’s podcast, Air Schooner, conducted interviews with Li-Young Lee, Roxane Gay, Nikola Madzirov, and Sudeep Sen that will be available with the upgrade to “Guide to Customs.”

The mobile app and digital initiative represent Prairie Schooner’s desire as a publication to extend its influence into digital and online media, and to reflect its growing presence within the international community. 

Editor in Chief and poet Kwame Dawes reflected on how the Global Schooner app enhances Prairie Schooner’s international presence.

“One of the exciting opportunities that digital literary publishing allows for is the chance to make a reality the global community of letters. Global Schooner is a genius app idea that capitalizes on the app technology to celebrate our global commitment to writers and to literature from various parts of the world.”

The mobile app was designed by David Levi of Double Apps, a Knoxville, TN- based company that specializes in map-based smartphone app design.  Levi explained that the Global Schooner app is part of a progression of his desire to design user interfaces that use maps.  Levi commented on the creation of Global Schooner , saying, “The app interface uses a pretty cool animated 3-D globe to show where various authors live.  I think this gives the user a good sense of the diversity of authors featured in the app.”  App users may recognize Double Apps as the creators of Beck Tour and Shared Time.

Prairie Schooner to Host Barry Lopez Featured Reading this Fall

National Book Award winner and bestselling author Barry Lopez will be the featured guest at an event hosted by Prairie Schooner, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s international literary journal.

The event will take place Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union ballroom and is free and open to the public. Lopez will read from his creative work, followed by an on-stage interview with award-winning Nebraska author Dr. Mary Pipher and a book signing.

Lopez is one of the foremost American voices in contemporary environmental literature and activism. His nonfiction book Arctic Dreams (Vintage) won a National Book Award and he holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and five National Science Foundation Fellowships, in addition to numerous Pushcart Prizes in both fiction and nonfiction.  His creative essay “Six Thousand Pieces” will appear in Prairie Schooner’s Fall 2013 issue.

“I have found in Lopez that most reassuring combination of scholar, social commentator, and generous human being,” said Kwame Dawes, Prairie Schooner editor-in-chief. “He has been willing enough to contain these qualities within a profoundly empathic quality of affirmation for the human condition--one that is refreshingly and self-reflexively critical and yet one that has the capacity to be celebratory and hopeful.  It is a tremendous honor that he has agreed to come to Lincoln.”

This event has been made possible with the generous support of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Natural Resources, the School of Biological Sciences, the Institute for Ethnic Studies, the Center for Great Plains Studies, the Environmental Studies Program, and the English, geography, and philosophy departments.

Lopez’s major works include the nonfiction book Of Wolves and Men (Scribner), a National Book Award finalist, and the story collection Resistance (Vintage), winner of the 2004 Oregon Book Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, National Geographic, and The Paris Review among others.  


Prairie Schooner Celebrates 10 Years of its Book Prize Series


Prairie Schooner, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s literary journal, will be hositing an event to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its annual Book Prize Series.  The celebration will be hosted on Thursday, April 4 from 7-9 p.m. at the UNL International Quilty Study Center located at 2523 N. 33rd Street in Lincoln. 

The celebration will feature introductory remarks by Hilda Raz and Peggy Shumaker, the founders of the Book Prize Series.  Karen Brown and Susan Blackwell Ramsey, the 2011 Book Prize winners will also present readings.  The event will include special performances by UNL’s Ceramics and Music Composition departments.  A reception with complementary wine and dessert will follow the event. 

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is recognized as one of the premier prizes of its kind for both established and emerging writers.  Each year, Prairie Schooner accepts submissions of book length manuscripts of poetry and short story collections, offering a $3,000 prize to the winner in each genre, as well as publication with through the University of Nebraska Press. 

The event will begin with an introductions by Raz and Shumaker.  Raz, the editor of Prairie Schooner from 1970-2010, turned the prestigious literary journal into a financially viable enterprise with widespread distribution of regular quarterly issues.  Under Raz’s leadership, Prairie Schooner grew in prominence and stature within the literary community.  Shumaker, a poet and contributer to Prairie Schooner, worked in conjunction with Raz to establish the Book Prize Series, and has provided generous and necessary financial support.  Shumaker and her husband helped fund the prize with start-up money, and continue to donate annually.  Under the guidance and support of Raz and Schumaker, the Book Prize Series has become an annual staple with international acclaim and regard, with a longevity to match the journal’s famed 87-year history.

Both Ramsey and Brown will give readings of their award-winning poems and stories during the celebration. 

Ramsey is the winner of the 2011 Book Prize in Poetry, for her collection of poems titled A Mind Like This.  Ramsey is a Michigan Native, having received an MFA in Creative Writing from Notre Dame, and currently residing in Kalamazoo where she teaches at the Kalamazoo Institute.  Ramsey has been included in Best American Poets

An interpretation of Brown’s stories into a song performed by the UNL music composition department will precede her reading.  Brown is the winner of the 2011 Book Prize in Fiction.  Brown’s collection of short stories, Little Sinners and Other Stories is her second book.  Brown has been selected for inclusion in PEN/O.Henry Stories twice, and has also been included in Best American Short Stories.  She currently teaches at the University of South Florida.

Reflecting Prairie Schooner’s goal to promote creative work in a public venue, the event will feature artistic interpretations of Ramsey and Brown’s writing.  The UNL ceramics department will present ceramic works meant to represent Ramsey’s poetry, while the music composition department has written a song that will be performed as a tribute to Brown’s short stories.  This interdisciplinary presentation echoes the Prairie Schooner ethos to create and promote a supportive community for all of those involved in the creative arts. 

More information about past winners of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series can be found on Prairie Schooner’s website, http://prairieschooner.unl.edu.  Books from previous winners and the recently published The Prairie Schooner Book Prize 10th Anniversary Reader are available for purchase on the University of Nebraska Press website at http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/catalog.