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Prairie Schooner News

Ladan Osman Wins 2014 Sillerman First Book Prize For African Poets


The African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner are proud to announce Ladan Osman as the winner of the 2014 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets! Osman will receive a $1,000 cash prize and her collection, The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, will be published by the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.

Here’s what Ladan herself had to say about winning the Sillerman prize:

I deeply appreciate this prize. I have so badly just wanted a chance to work, to be apparent to people in life and in poems.

A bunch of things happened in the years spent writing this book: my heart froze and thawed. I struggled in its runoff. Shifting color schemes in dreams. Hair cuts, thumps to the heart. There was a time all the unsayable things were making my throat salty. Maybe I smelled the sea often because there was a little one in me. I'm excited to share what came out of those sometimes rough waters, and look forward to connecting to new readers, new communities.

The Sillerman First Book Prize is awarded to African writers who have not yet published a book-length poetry collection. Click here for the full rules and how to enter.

Opening Party and Cake


The Prairie Schooner office opened the spring semester with a welcome party and another of Lorna’s Dawes’s specialty cakes, this one in the shape of 20 Windows, Benjamin Busch’s cover art for the winter issue.  In keeping with the issue’s colors, the cake was coconut flavored with lime filling, and was identified by several reliable sources as delicious.  Watch for more of Lorna’s fine cakes at future Prairie Schooner events!

Winter Issue Launch Event With Iraq War Veteran Brian Turner


This winter’s Prairie Schooner issue centers around the theme of “War and Conflict,” with a special war portfolio edited by poet and Iraq War veteran Brian Turner.  To celebrate, Turner will be speaking at our launch event on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Plains Art Museum at 1155 Q Street in Lincoln.

This event is free and open to the public.  Come hear Turner speak, with readings from issue contributors Ted Genoways (who translated Wilhelm Klemm’s poems “In Pérenchies,” “Advance,” and “Clearing Station”) and Mihaela Moscaliuc (who contributed the essay “Apples”).  You’ll also hear stories from University of Nebraska students recounting their experiences in world combat zones, and can view contributor Elliott D. Woods’s multimedia presentation, “Assignment Afghanistan,” with stories, pictures, and video from the war in Afghanistan.

For more info, and bios of Turner, Genoways, Moscaliuc, and Woods, click here. Or, listen to Turner read his poetry on the Air Schooner podcast here.

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.