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Prairie Schooner News

Prairie Schooner at AWP

Prairie Schooner is going to the AWP Conference in Chicago from February 29–March 3!

The Annual AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference and Bookfair is the largest annual Creative Writing marquee event in the country, featuring panel discussions and readings by many of the biggest names in literature today. Margaret Atwood will deliver the 2012 Keynote Address. Prairie Schooner Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes says, “AWP is always a tremendous gathering—it is one place where a writer feels as if writing is the most important thing in the world. We should get to feel that way at least once a year.” The 2012 conference in Chicago has sold out, meaning the number of registered attendees has exceeded 9,500, an all-time high for AWP.

To match the energy sparked by Prairie Schooner’s brand-new website and web initiatives—such as “Air Schooner,” a literary podcast series, and “Fusion,” an online collaborative series between Prairie Schooner and other innovative online entities—Prairie Schooner will be an important presence at this year’s AWP Conference. On Thursday, March 1, past Prairie Schooner Book-Prize-Winning authors will read at the Prairie Schooner Tenth Anniversary Book Prize Series Reading. Many of these authors will hold a book signing on Friday, March 2, at Prairie Schooner’s table in the Bookfair. Afterward, Glenna Luschei will be one of the presenters on the panel “Under New Management: The Literary Journal in the Changing World.” Friday evening, Prairie Schooner will host a private reception with over 100 guests planning to attend.

One of Prairie Schooner’s most important tasks at AWP is interacting with subscribers, readers, and submitting writers to receive feedback, especially this year with our new cover design, website, web initiatives, and online submission system. Professor Dawes says, “This year we are going to spend a lot of time listening to our subscribers and potential subscribers about what they think of our new look, new initiatives and where they see us going in the future. We hope to take advantage of the record attendance this year and try to excite people about taking out subscriptions to the journal.”

Roughly two-dozen staff members and UNL English faculty will be present as well. Managing Editor Marianne Kunkel says, “We work hard to have a big presence at this conference by offering travel stipends to graduate students willing to work at our bookfair table, encouraging students and faculty members to distribute flyers about the journal on-site, asking everyone to pack cameras and laptops to report about the conference online, and offering many Prairie Schooner-related conference events. This time of year, when the Prairie Schooner community prepares to join a much larger community of national and international creative writers, is exciting. I'm confident that our staff will be great ambassadors for the journal at this conference.”

Irish Issue Launch Party: Feb 9 & 10

The Prairie Schooner Irish Issue Launch Party, a two-day event at the Sheldon Museum of Art, begins tomorrow (Thursday, February 9) and ends Friday, February 10. This free and open-to-the-public event features award-winning Irish writers included in our Winter 2011 Irish Issue, along with other exciting, Irish-themed festivities.

Thursday, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Irish authors Deanie Rowan Blank and Nuala Ní Chonchúir read and interview with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes and Managing Editor Marianne Kunkel, followed from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. with a panel focusing on contemporary Irish literature. Professor Stephen Behrendt moderates the panel, which includes Karen Babine, Ní Chonchúir, Aidan Rooney, and Bret Shepard.

From 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Irish writers Aidan Rooney and Sandra Bunting read and interview with Professor Grace Bauer and Cody Lumpkin, followed from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. by the Prairie Schooner Irish issue launch, featuring guest readings from Jeff Alessandrelli, Jennifer Dean, Crystal Gibbins, Jason Hertz, and John Schulze (introduced by Stephen Behrendt).

Friday evening, from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Sheldon’s Great Hall, Prairie Schooner will host a reception featuring live Irish music along with Irish-themed food and alcoholic beverages, immediately followed at 8 p.m. with readings by Blank, Bunting, Ní Chonchúir, and Rooney.

Wheeler Appointed Web Editor

We’re pleased to announce that Theodore Wheeler has been appointed the new Web Editor of Prairie Schooner. Wheeler was previously the Blog and Social Networking Editor. He will be taking over the reins of the online presence from Timothy Schaffert.

Wheeler is a fiction writer who lives in Omaha with his wife and daughter. An alumnus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BA '05) he’s been a reader for Prairie Schooner the past four years, the past two as a Senior Fiction Reader, and was the journal’s first Blog and Social Networking Editor. His short stories have appeared in Best New American Voices 2009, The Kenyon Review, Boulevard, The Cincinnati Review, Confrontation, and other venues. Two of those stories won prizes from Boulevard and The Cincinnati Review; one of them was a special mention story in the 2010 Pushcart Prize anthology and has been used in a class designed to help military veterans and their families address issues of reintegrating into society following time in combat. Wheeler’s book reviews have been featured in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review Online, The Millions, and Pleiades. He’s been awarded scholarships from the Wesleyan Writers Conference, the Key West Literary Seminar, the Port Townsend Writers Conference, and earned an MA in Creative Writing as a fellow at Creighton University. He’s currently working on a novel set in Omaha during World War I and the Red Summer of 1919. Find out more about Ted at his blog, The Uninitiated.

Kwame Dawes in Scotland

If you happen to be in Ayr, Scotland this March for StAnza 2012--Scotland's international poetry festival--be sure to catch the reading by Prairie Schooner Editor Kwame Dawes on Tuesday, March 13. The event, titled "Kwame Dawes: Poetry from Jamaica," will take place at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, and begins at 7pm.

Read more here.

2011 Pushcart Nominations

On Dec. 1, we submitted Pushcart Prize nominations. Congratulations and best of luck to our nominees:

“Counting Sheep” by Linda Pastan, a poem from the Fall Issue.

“I'll Tell You about Speaking In Tongues” by Roxanne Beth Johnson, a poem from the Spring issue.

“Early Explorer’s Journal” by Desiree Alvarez, a poem from the Fall issue.

“Peach” by Nuala Ní Chonchúir, a short story from the forthcoming Winter issue.

“The Bird Lady” by Melodie Edwards, a short story from the Summer issue.

“How to Eat a Quince” by Patrick Toland, a poem from the forthcoming Winter issue.

Blog and Social Networking Editor

Prairie Schooner is excited to announce the creation of a new staff position, Blog and Social Networking Editor, and delighted to welcome Theodore Wheeler into the role.

Wheeler steps into the position after serving as a senior fiction reader for Prairie Schooner. His fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices, Kenyon Review, Boulevard, Cincinnati Review, and Confrontation, among others. He was awarded a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and his work was listed among the Special Mention stories in the 2010 Pushcart Prize anthology. Wheeler lives in Omaha with his wife and daughter.

Pastan on Poetry Daily

Linda Pastan's "Counting Sheep," which originally appeared in our Fall 2011 issue, was the featured poem on Nov. 26 on Poetry Daily!

2011 Best American Recognition

The Best American Series released its 2011 versions in October, and there were several Prairie Schooner connections to note:

Eric Barnes' story "Something Pretty, Something Beautiful" (Winter 2010) was anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories.

Floyd Skloot's essay "Something to Marvel At" (Fall 2010) was a notable in Best American Nonrequired Reading.

Katie Chase's "The Sea that Leads to All Seas" (Winter 2010) and R.T. Smith's "The Red Jar" (Spring 2010) were notables in Best American Short Stories.

Janet Abbott Dutton's "Old Enough" (Winter 2010), Josip Novakovich's "Cat Named Sobaka" (Spring 2010), and Tracy Seeley's "Cartographies of Change" (Summer 2010) were notables in Best American Essays.

In addition, congratulations to the UNL/Prairie Schooner writers Carrie Shipers ("Ghost Traffic" from Zone 3), Joy Castro ("Grip" from Fourth Genre), and Sarah Fawn Montgomery ("Ekphrasis: What My Grandfather Saw" from Fugue) for earning notable status in Best American Essays.

New Book Prize Series Coordinator

Prairie Schooner is excited to announce its new Book Prize Coordinator, Hali Sofala.

From Georgia, Sofala is a first-year Ph.D. student in poetry, with a specialization in women’s and ethnic studies, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and she holds an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sofala has most recently taught at Augusta State University, where she also worked as the Textbook Manager for the University’s campus bookstore, and her poems have been published in journals such as Anderbo, Inner Weather, The Literary Bohemian, and The Peacock’s Feet.

The annual Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series next opens for submissions on January 15, 2012. View submission guidelines here.