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Prairie Schooner News

Redd Named Publicity Associate

The esteemed literary magazine, Prairie Schooner, is pleased to announce the hiring of James Redd as its new Publicity Associate! The position of Publicity Associate was recently created to promote the journal’s exciting new projects, such as the 2012 Creative Nonfiction Contest judged by Steven Church, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Prairie Schooner’s Glenna Luschei Endowed Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes says of Redd, “It is our good fortune to find someone who is a gifted writer, a talented and experienced musician, a savvy and witty thinker, and a man with an impressive work ethic. James Redd is a fantastic addition to our team.”

Holding an M.A. with an emphasis in creative writing from Mississippi State University and currently a third-year Ph.D. student in fiction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Redd takes over as Publicity Associate after a two-year tenure as an editorial assistant at the Schooner. His expertise in the promotion of musical acts, including touring, album production and publicity, will serve him well in the position.

Recently, Redd has served Prairie Schooner in innovative capacities, as he was invited to read, in his authentic Southern accent, Eudora Welty’s “The Whistle” for its digital project, and he was enlisted to write and present an ekphrastic song in response to Greg Hrbek’s book-prize-winning collection of short stories, Destroy All Monsters. In addition to his experience with PS, he served as an editor for the Jabberwock Review and Illuminations.

His writing was nominated for inclusion in Best New American Voices 2009, and he won Second place in the Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner award for the short story. His story "Visiting" is published in the Fall 2011 issue of Fifth Wednesday. Read the Winter 2011 issue of Parting Gifts to enjoy more of his work. He has just completed a book-length collection of poetry entitled A Man of God’s Own Heart and is writing a novel called Revival!

Please join us in welcoming James Redd as Prairie Schooner’s new Publicity Associate.

2012 Nebraska Summer Writers Conference

Every summer since 2001, the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference has brought to Lincoln some of the nation’s most acclaimed authors. The conference offers weekend and a week-long curriculum, as well as a number of events free and open to the public. This year they are spotlighting successful graduates of UNL’s creative writing PhD program: Lee Martin, emily danforth, and Dave Madden, as well as former Nebraskans Carleen Brice, Terese Svoboda, and Meghan Daum, all having achieved national success as authors.

In addition to the workshops, the Conference features an evening with Terese Svoboda, translator of Cleaned the Crocodile's Teeth: Nuer Song, celebrating Nebraskan-Nuer culture; Guggenheim-winning poet Kwame Dawes discussing his new appointment with the Prairie Schooner literary journal; and many other readings, discussions, and panels.

The faculty includes:
Lee Martin (Pulitzer Prize finalist for the novel The Bright Forever);
Carleen Brice (whose novel Orange Mint and Honey was made into the NAACP Image Award-winning film Sins of the Mother);
Terese Svoboda (poet, novelist, filmmaker and native Nebraskan);
emily m. danforth (author of the acclaimed YA novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post);
Meghan Daum (author of the memoir Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House; columnist for the LA Times; has contributed to This American Life, the New Yorker, Vogue, Travel and Leisure, and many more publications and broadcasts);
… as well as poets Stacey Waite, Aracelis Girmay, and Kwame Dawes; nonfiction writer Dave Madden; and fiction writer/poet/memoirist Michelle Tea.

The Nebraska Summer Writers Conference is part of the creative writing program of UNL’s English Department, in the College of Arts and Sciences.

WHEN: June 9-15, 2012
WHERE: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, city campus
WHAT: Creative writing workshops (registration required); also free/open readings & panel discussions (no registration required); faculty includes renowned authors, novelists, poets.
WEB: See website for schedule, online registration, more info about sessions, and faculty bios: http://nebraskawriters.unl.edu MEDIA CONTACT: Timothy Schaffert (tschaffert2@unl.edu) or Sarah Chavez (nswc@unl.edu); 402-472-3067

Dawes to Address UNL Postgraduates

Kwame Dawes, professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at UNL, will address the Friday, May 4 postgraduate ceremony (3 p.m., Bob Devaney Sports Center) as part of commencement weekend on campus. All ceremonies are free and open to the public.

For more information, see here.

Editor Kwame Dawes Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Kwame Dawes, professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has received a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. He is among 181 scholars, artists and scientists in the United States and Canada who were selected for the honor from nearly 3,000 applicants.

The fellowship will support his work on the poem cycle, "August: A Quintet," based on the work of August Wilson, an American playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner whose work illustrated the African-American experience in the 20th century.

Dawes called the award a tremendous honor, adding that he's grateful to all the writers who wrote in support of his selection.

"I have long regarded the Guggenheim Fellowship as a clear indication of the quality and significance of the work of American artists and artists from around the world. I waited until I thought I had a fit project before applying, and I am glad I did," he said.

He's especially grateful because the fellowship acknowledges the importance of the work it will support, he said.

Dawes joined the UNL faculty as a Chancellor's Professor in 2011 and took the helm of Prairie Schooner, UNL's quarterly literary magazine that for the past 85 years has published the fiction, poetry, essays and reviews of talented writers of all levels. He is the author of 16 poetry collections, three works of fiction, and several anthologies, produced plays, and books of literary criticism and aesthetics, not counting forthcoming works. His long list of accomplishments includes a 2009 Emmy Award for a multimedia documentary project on HIV/AIDS in Jamaica.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed based on distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. What distinguishes the Guggenheim Fellowship program from others is the wide range in interest, age, geography and institutions of those it selects. The 2012 fellows come from 54 disciplines and 77 different academic institutions.

Since its establishment in 1925, the foundation has granted fellowships to more than 17,300 individuals. Scores of Nobel, Pulitzer and other prizewinners appear on the rolls of the Foundation's fellows. Among them are Ansel Adams, Aaron Copland, Langston Hughes, Henry Kissinger, Vladimir Nabokov, Isamu Noguchi, Linus Pauling, Paul Samuelson, Martha Graham, Philip Roth, Derek Walcott, James Watson and Eudora Welty. The last UNL scholar to win a Guggenheim Fellowship was chemist Xiao Cheng Zeng in 2004.

Dawes will join other 2012 fellows at a reception next month in New York to accept his award.

-Jean Ortiz Jones

Sherman Alexie to Edit Special Portfolio for Winter 2012 Issue of Prairie Schooner

Prairie Schooner is excited to announce that the amazing Sherman Alexie will guest-edit a Native American-themed portfolio of prose and poetry for Prairie Schooner’s Winter 2012 issue!

Alexie is a writer, poet, and filmmaker best known for his short-story collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. His work has been translated into a dozen languages, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories 2004 and Pushcart Prize XXIX. The author of twenty-two books, he has won an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, a National Book Award, for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and the PEN/Faulkner Award, for War Dances, among many other honors. His film, Smoke Signals, won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award and Filmmakers’ Trophy.

According to Marianne Kunkel, Prairie Schooner’s Managing Editor, “I can’t think of a better way to follow our successful Winter 2011 Special Irish Issue than with a Native American-themed issue highlighting the best poems, stories, and creative essays by some of today’s most talented Native American authors. In the second installment in our new series of internationally-themed winter issues, we’re excited to showcase the creative work of authors whose roots are right here in Nebraska and elsewhere. And to have the phenomenal, multi-talented author Sherman Alexie select the work—it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Of course, all of us at Prairie Schooner are thrilled about this news! Check back for updates, including details regarding Winter 2012 issue launch events scheduled for early 2013.

Nikola Madzirov to Visit UNL April 18 & 19

Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department are excited to welcome Macedonian poet and translator Nikola Madzirov as the Prairie Schooner Visiting Writer from April 18-19. Madzirov, according to the Tottenville Review, is “a first-rate poet who deserves worldwide attention,” and Der Spiegel says his poems “are similar in quality to the poems of the Nobel Prize winner Tomas Tranströmer. They are genuine and open.” Born in Strumica, Macedonia, to a family of Balkan Wars refugees, his award-winning poems have been translated into thirty languages. BOA Editions published his first selection of poetry in the US, Remnants of Another Age, in 2011. According to Professor Kwame Dawes, Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner, “Few poets I know manage to contain in a few lines such lucid and unsettling images that never let us off the hook for an instance, as well Nikolai Madzirov.”

While visiting Lincoln, Madzirov will lecture on Balkan literature and translation in the Bailey Dudley Library of Andrews Hall at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. This lecture is free and open to the public. On Thursday, April 19, at 10 a.m., Madzirov will be interviewed for Prairie Schooner’s Podcast series, Air Schooner, and he will conduct a one-hour translation workshop with UNL students and faculty in the afternoon. At 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evening, Madzirov will give a free, open-to-the-public feature reading at the Great Plains Art Museum (12th & Q Streets).

In the foreword to Madzirov’s Remnants of Another Age, poet and translator Carolyn Forché writes, “Madzirov calls himself ‘an involuntary descendant of refugees,’ referring to his family's flight from the Balkan Wars a century ago: his surname derives from mazir or majir, meaning ‘people without a home.’ The ideas of shelter and of homelessness, of nomadism, and spiritual transience serves as a palimpsest in these Remnants.” The recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the University of Iowa’s prestigious International Writing Program, Madzirov has been awarded numerous international literary prizes, such as the Hubert Burda European Poetry Award. Professor Dawes added, “He is a splendid poet whose reputation is growing rapidly and deservedly. Beyond that he is one of the gentlest and kindest people I know. Our students, faculty and community will be enjoying a tremendous presence during his visit. I am so pleased that we managed to get him here.”

Prairie Schooner Writing Prize Winners for 2012

Prairie Schooner is excited to announce the winners of our annual writing prizes! A total of $8,500 is spread over eighteen prizes for work published in our 2011 volume. Prairie Schooner is able to distribute these annual prizes thanks to generous supporters of the literary arts. The highest individual prize is worth $1,500, and there is no application process.

Gregory Blake Smith of Northfield, MN, won the Lawrence Foundation Award of $1,000 for his story “Punishment” from the Spring issue. His collection of short stories The Law of Miracles—from which “Punishment” is drawn—recently won the Juniper Prize and was published in the spring of 2011 by the University of Massachusetts Press. He is the Lloyd P. Johnson Norwest Professor of English and the Liberal Arts at Carleton College.

John Lane of Spartanburg, SC, received the $1,500 Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award for his essay “Sardis” published in the Spring issue. He teaches environmental studies at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His latest books are Best of the Kudzu Telegraph and Circling Home. This prize is made possible by the generosity of poet, publisher, and philanthropist Glenna Luschei.

William Wall of Cork City, Ireland, won the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing of $1,000 for his novel excerpt in Prairie Schooner's Winter issue. He is the author of three poetry collections, one short fiction collection, and four novels, the most recent of which, This Is The Country, was nominated for the 2005 Man Booker Prize. His most recent poetry collection is Ghost Estate. The Faulkner Award is supported by charitable contributions to honor Virginia Faulkner, former editor-in-chief of the University of Nebraska Press and fiction editor at Prairie Schooner.

Patrick Toland of Northern Ireland was awarded the Edward Stanley Award of $1,000 for his three poems in the Winter issue. He is a director of social enterprise, a New Media Lecturer, and a freelance journalist. A recent graduate of the new MSt in Creative Writing at Oxford University, he was selected by Windows Publications as an emerging writer in 2009. His most recent publications have been in Swamp Magazine and Fortnight Magazine. Charitable contributions from the family of Edward Stanley, a member of the committee that founded Prairie Schooner in 1926, make this award possible.

Other winners include:

• The Bernice Slote Award of $500: Melodie Edwards of Laramie, WY, for her story “Bird Lady” published in the Summer issue.
• The Annual Prairie Schooner Strousse Award of $500: Todd James Pierce of Orcutt, CA, for his two poems from the Fall issue.
• The Jane Geske Award of $250: Nuala Ní Chonchúir of Galway, Ireland, for the story “Peach” from the Winter issue.
• The Hugh J. Luke Award of $250: Roxane Beth Johnson of San Francisco, CA, for her four poems in the Spring issue.

There were ten winners of the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Awards of $250 each. These awards are made possible through the generosity of Glenna Luschei.

Bethany Maile, of Eagle, ID, for the essay “Ladies’ Night in the Shooting Range” in the Fall issue
David Torrey Peters, of Evanston, IL, for the essay “God’s Entrepreneur” in the Spring issue
Wanling Su, of Plattsburgh, NY, for the poem “Night in the Boxer Rebellion” in the Fall issue
David Wagoner, of Lynnwood, WA, for three poems in the Fall issue
Helen Elaine Lee, of Arlington, MA, for the story “Alphabet” in the Spring issue
Sandra Bunting, of New Brunswick, Canada, for three poems in the Winter issue
Owen King, of New Paltz, NY, for the story “Home Brew” in the Summer issue
Mark Wisniewski, of Lake Peekskill, NY, for the poem “Easier” in the Fall issue
Desirée Alvarez, of New York, NY, for two poems in the Fall issue
Linda Pastan, of Potomac, MD, for three poems in the Fall issue

Congratulations to all of these wonderful writers! Prairie Schooner is fortunate and thankful to be able to reward many of our contributors with our annual Prairie Schooner writing prizes, made possible through the generosity of our supporters and the excellent writing of our contributors.

ZZ Packer is Coming to Lincoln!

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department is pleased to welcome fiction writer ZZ Packer as this year’s Writer in Residence from March 6-16. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Packer was recently named one of America's Young Innovators by Smithsonian Magazine as well as one America's Best Young novelists by Granta Magazine. Her story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was a PEN/Faulkner finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. According to Professor Judy Slater, Coordinator of UNL’s Creative Writing Program, “We're lucky to have ZZ Packer as our writer in residence this year. Our writer in residence program is a wonderful opportunity for students to meet and spend time with a nationally known writer over a period of two weeks.”

During her stay in Lincoln, Packer will present two free and open-to-the-public events. On Wednesday, March 7, at 12:30 p.m., Packer will give a craft talk entitled “Voice in Fiction” in the Dudley Bailey Library, located in Andrews Hall, UNL City Campus. On Thursday, March 8, at 7:00 p.m., Packer will give a reading in the Great Plains Art Museum (12th & Q Streets), followed by a reception and book signing. In addition to these events, Packer will be conducting a workshop for UNL graduate students and performing outreach work in the Lincoln community. Slater notes, “We have a vibrant regular reading series in which writers come for a day or two, but the writer in residence program is special."

Packer's stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Story, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, and Best American Short Stories 2000 and 2004, and her nonfiction has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Magazine, The American Prospect, Essence, O, The Believer, and Salon. A contributor to The Huffington Post, Packer has appeared as a commentator on NPR's “Talk of the Nation” and MSNBC. “Her work is fresh, funny, original, and moving,” Slater adds.

According to Professor Kwame Dawes, Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner, “In Packer we have that rare combination of someone who is a genuine literary star and a writer of incredible skill and profound intelligence—she is a writer of substance—a voice we will be hearing from for a long time to come, so it is a real coup to get a writer of that mettle here in Lincoln. Very exciting!”

New Blog and Social Networking Editor Appointed

Prairie Schooner is pleased to introduce its new Blog and Social Networking Editor, Claire Harlan-Orsi!

Harlan-Orsi is a Bloomington, Indiana native. After attending Brown University, she worked as a college counselor for low-income students in Providence and as a youth job developer in Chicago before coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pursue a PhD. She studies fiction writing and literature, and teaches composition and creative writing courses to undergraduates. She's had fiction and essays published in The Cincinnati Review, MAYDAY, and The Believer.

Stay tuned to Prairie Schooner’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter for exciting news and information. Please help us in welcoming Claire Harlan-Orsi to the Prairie Schooner team!

Poets & Writers News Release on Dawes Honor


New York, NY – Poets & Writers, Inc. has announced that David Baldacci, Kwame Dawes, and Carol Muske-Dukes are the recipients of the 2012 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and Kathryn Court is the recipient of the Editor’s Award.

“We are very proud of this year’s honorees,” said Elliot Figman, executive director of Poets & Writers. “Their diverse concerns, aesthetics, and the variety of ways in which they have extended themselves in order to contribute to the literary community—all of this points to the richness and breadth of contemporary American literature.”

The 2012 awards will be presented at Poets & Writers’ annual benefit dinner, In Celebration of Writers, on March 29, 2012, at Capitale in New York City. The chair of this year’s event is Michael Jacobs, President and CEO of ABRAMS. Continuing a Poets & Writers tradition, writers will be seated at each table. Among the notable authors serving as literary table hosts this year are Kurt Andersen, Robert Caro, Erica Jong, Jay McInerney, Sue Monk Kidd, and Sapphire. Acclaimed humorist Andy Borowitz will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and the novelist Susan Isaacs will present the awards to the honorees.

Tickets to the dinner begin at $500 per person. The evening is expected to generate over $350,000, with proceeds to support Poets & Writers’ extensive programs for creative writers. The Writers for Writers Award was established by Poets & Writers in 1996 to recognize authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community. The title of the award has been given to Barnes & Noble in appreciation of their sponsorship of Poets & Writers. The Editor’s Award was established in 2009 to recognize a book editor who has made an outstanding contribution to the publication of poetry or literary prose over a sustained period of time.

David Baldacci and his wife, Michelle, established the Wish You Well Foundation to support family literacy. In 2010 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty, and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, nearly 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed through area food banks. David explains, “With this program, people go home with food, which they need to live, as well as with books, which they need to change their lives.” Three Baldacci titles were released in 2011: Zero Day, One Summer, and The Sixth Man. All were published by Grand Central Publishing/HBG and, like his twenty previous novels, all have become national and international bestsellers. His work has been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide.

Kwame Dawes is a tireless champion for poetry, the literary arts, and community. His efforts have helped facilitate poetry publications in the Caribbean, in South Carolina, and among Black British poets. He was the creative force behind the Emmy Awardwinning Live Hope Love, a multimedia exploration of the lives of
those living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. He is a founder and director of Calabash, an international literary festival held in Jamaica since 2001. He also founded and directed the South Carolina Poetry Initiative and the South Carolina Arts Institute. Born in Ghana in 1962, Dawes has written sixteen collections of poetry, most recently Wheels (Peeple Tree Press, 2011). He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and a faculty member of the Pacific MFA program and of Cave Canem.

Carol Muske-Dukes is a fierce and passionate advocate for poets and poetry. She founded a long-running writing program for inmates of New York State prisons in the early 1970’s—Poets & Writers was the
first supporter of this program. She is the current Poet Laureate of California, and co-editor with Bob Holman of Crossing State Lines: an American Renga (FSG, 2011). Carol is the author of eight books of poems, including Twin Cities (Penguin, 2011), two collections of essays, including Married to the Icepick Killer: A Poet in Hollywood (Random House, 2002), and four novels. She is professor of English and Creative Writing and founding Director of the new PhD Program in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.

Past recipients of the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award include Edward Albee, Judy Blume, Mary Higgins Clark, E. L. Doctorow, Junot Díaz, John Grisham, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Maxine Hong Kingston, Wally Lamb, Walter Mosley, Susan Sontag, and Amy Tan.

Poets & Writers, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers, believes in contemporary literature’s indispensible value to our national culture. Founded in 1970, P&W’s mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public. Poets & Writers accomplishes this by publishing Poets & Writers Magazine, an award-winning bi-monthly journal; producing a website, pw.org, that provides trustworthy advice, information, and a lively online community for writers; administering the Readings/Workshops Program, which pays writers fees for giving readings and leading workshops throughout New York and California, as well as in eight cities outside those states; and sponsoring awards for writers including the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, and the Amy Award. Learn more at pw.org.