If you’ve been itching to get your hands on copies of the 2018 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction winner, now you can. Readers may now preorder copies of Jen Julian’s Earthly Delights and Other Apocalypses which will ship early October and is available in both paperback and hardcover.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Kevin Morgan Watson says the collection:
held my interest while taking me on a variety of journeys, both real and surreal, from a paleontologist who spontaneously crumbles to dust during a lecture, to siblings dealing with their hoarder-father’s estate. These stories ranged widely in theme and style, and after finishing one story I looked forward to where I would be taken in the next.
While you’re waiting on your signed copy of Earthly Delights and Other Apocalypses, you can stop by TriQuarterly’s website for a taste of Julian’s writing with “Attachment,” published this past July.
Frustrated with the current policital administration? You protest, rally, write letters, get yourself and others ready to vote...what more can you do? For poet and musician Ken Waldman (aka Alaska's Fiddling Poet), there's poetry. Sonnets to be exact, and a lot of them. With two volumes already completed and one more (at least) on the way, Waldman is taking this administration to task - and perhaps salvaging his own sanity as well as that of his readers - responding to the daily fodder by turning it to his muse for poetry.
Like many of us, in a stunned stupor the day after the election, Wednesday, November 9, 2016, Waldman writes that he was "processing Donald Trump's surprise victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and wrote, 'You make George W. seem a statesman--your opening trick,' which I turned into the first line and a half of a sonnet. A week later I wrote two more Donald Trump-inspired sonnets. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, another 68. That's 71 sonnets, a full-length collection. 41 were written in the voice of Donald Trump. The rest were addressed to him." The book's subtitle - The First 50 Days - speaks to the process many of us went through at the start.
Now in our second year of Trump's reign, Waldman continues to see us through with Trump Sonnets Volume 2: 33 Commentaries, 33 Dreams. "Half of this sequel's 66 poems is incisive commentary," writes Waldman,. "Half, dreams that I imagine Donald Trump might have, and those are in Trump's voice."
Both volumes, as well as Waldman's other books, are available through SPD Distribution or directly from Waldman. Visitors to his website can also view YouTube videos of Waldman reading the poems with a little bit of his iconic fiddling style thrown in.
Available this month is the winner of the 2017 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry: Bridled by Amy Meng. Selected by Jaswinder Bolina, Bolina says of his selection:
Bridled is poetry as slow-burn opera. [ . . . ] The poems here offer, in reverse chronology, the story of a crumbling relationship between an unnamed speaker and her nameless ‘lover.’ In this telling, Bridled articulates a politics of self versus other, of body and gender, of loneliness and togetherness. It’s a collection you’re going to want to read from start to finish and then from finish to start.
A Kundiman Fellow and poetry editor at Bodega Magazine, this is Amy Meng’s first collection. Stop by the Pleaides Press website to learn more.
The University of Iowa Press published the winners of the 2017 Iowa Short Fiction Award and the 2017 John Simmons Short Fiction Award last month.
Matthew Lansburgh’s Outside is the Ocean, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, was chosen by Andre Dubus III, who calls the linked collection “mesmerizing” as it “explores, among other things, the tenuous tie between mother and son, between the Old World and the New, between what was and what is.”
Winner of the John Simons Short Fiction Award, What Counts as Love by Marian Crotty, is “sensual, brave, and wonderfully evocative” as Crotty examines“the seemingly tattered nature of love, taking us deeply into the varied lives of her characters and making us care for them all.” The nine stories follow people—most often young women—searching for human connection, their stories touching on themes of addiction, class, sexuality, and gender.
Stop by the University of Iowa Press website to learn more about the awards and winning titles.
October offered more treats than just candy this year. Readers, a handful of prize-winning books hit bookshelves last month, and if you haven’t already gotten your hands on them, now is your chance!
The grand finalist of the Vine Leaves Vignette Collection Award, The Walmart Book of the Dead by Lucy Biederman, draws inspiration from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Biederman’s version includes shoplifters, grifters, drifters, and hustlers as they wander Walmart unknowingly consigned to their afterlives.
Stephanie Carpenter brought home the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction with Missing Persons. Selected by Press 53 Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Kevin Morgan Watson, the collection contains stories that are “diverse in setting, conflict, and style,” and it rose above over 230 other manuscripts to claim the prize.
Pleaides Press awards the Editors Prize for Poetry each spring. The 2016 winner, A Lesser Love by E. J. Koh, was published this month. “Love, war and recovered testimony from Korea’s unhealed border inform the formal and imaginative boundaries” within the debut collection, according to D. A. Powell’s advance praise. Learn more about the collection at the press’s website.
In Set to Music a Wildfire, Ruth Awad’s homage to her father “explores the violence of living, the guilt of surviving, the loneliness of faith, and the impossible task of belonging.” Winner of the Michael Waters Poetry Prize, Awad writes of family, country, and the Lebanese Civil War.
Be sure to stop by each press’s website listed above to learn more about the award-winning books published last month.
September is a busy month for award-winning book releases. Here is just a sampling of small press and university press titles readers can look for this month.
At the beginning of September, Southeast Missouri State University Press published the winner of the 2015 Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel: Pie Man by John Surowiecki. The debut novel is told through a series of reminiscences by the titular character’s family, friends, and teachers, and explores the story of a boy, Adam Olszewski, who on his seven birthday tries to leave his family house but can’t. Soon after, the boy believes the house is alive and an inseparable part of him. Pie Man is a vivid exploration of what it means to be normal.
A Brief Alphabet of Torture: Stories by Vi Khi Nao, winner of the FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, is also out this month. A Brief Alphabet of Torture is made of many modes and genres—poetry, essay fiction, drama—and almost constitutes a novel of a different kind. Each tale is a chapter that captures the concerns that pervade life.
In poetry, readers can pick up a copy of To Whitey & the Crackerjack by May Yang (Hauntie), winner of the 2016 Robert Dana Anhinga Prize, selected by Evie Schockley. Shockley says of her selection: “May Yang’s poetry pierces the silence in which the history of Hmong women has been blanketed, with indecorous wordplay, unruly rhymes, and evocative, unequivocal images. This book begins by naming names (America, global capitalism) and ends by revivifying the poetic epigram.”
Check out the publishers' websites to learn more about these newly-releaed, award-winning titles.
Flowers & Sky: Two Talks by Aaron Shurin
Mary's Dust poems by Melinda Mueller with music by Lori Goldston
Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts poetry and art by Maya Jewell Zeller and Carrie DeBacker
Les Figues Press held their NOS Book Contest every year from 2011-2015, awarding $1,000 and publication to a writer of a poetry or prose manuscript, which includes lyric essays, hybrids, translations, and more.
The 2015 contest was judged by author and performance artist lê thi diem thúy, who chose Irradiated Cities by Mariko Nagai. She says of her selection:
This book, a sifting and circling, a calm and masterful layering of voices and vantage points, a slowly emerging portrait of four different Japanese cities and their inhabitants, resists any effort at arrivals or conclusions. By doing so, it shows us that while we may have an accumulation of facts for what happened on a particular day in a particular place, perhaps even the names and words and pictures of the people to whom catastrophe struck, and would not let go, it is within the dark sedimentation and the feather-light drift of history that we might glean what yet remains, and gives off light, to summon and trouble us still.Nagai explores the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. With lyrical fragments and black-and-white photographs, Nagai guides us through loss, silence, echo, devestation, and memory, creating a haunting piece of work.
Read through advance praise of the collection and order a copy for yourself at the Les Figues Press website.
At the end of April, Arte Publico Press released a two-volume collection from Rolando Hinojosa. From Klail City to Korea with Love contains Rites and Witnesses and Korean Love Songs from the Klail City Death Trip Series.
In Rites and Witnesses, the author “captures the complex relationships and unsettling power struggles in both civilian and military life.”
Korean Love Songs has long been out of print, first published in 1978. In this section, Hinojosa presents his only poetry book, capturing the horror of war through Klail City native Corporal Rafe Buenrostro’s recollections.
Rolando Hinojosa is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Casa de las Américas prize in 1976, the most prestigious prize in Latin America. Now readers can bring home two of his books in one collection, continuing the examination of life along the border.
Learn more about From Klail City to Korea with Love at the publisher’s website.
The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers recognizes 12 emerging fiction writers for their debut story published online or in a literary magazine during the calendar year. The twelve winners each receive $2000 and are to be compilated in the inaugural anthology published by Catapult in August 2017.
This year’s winners were chosen by judges Kelly Link, Marie-Helene Bertino, and Nina McConigley, and together “they act as a compass for contemporary literature; they tell us where we’re going.” Each piece is introduced by the editor who originally published the story, providing editorial insight to aspiring writers and curious readers.
The 2017 winning writers include: Angela Ajayi, Amber Caron, Emily Chammah, Jim Cole, Crystal Hana Kim, Samuel Clare Knights, Katherine Magyarody, Grace Oluseyi, Laura Chow Reeve, Amy Sauber, Ruth Serven, and Ben Shattuck.