Southeast Missouri State University Press is thrilled to announce the winner and finalists of our Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. This was the first year that the contest was held through Submittable, and we found that it really sped up the process. If it seems like we’re announcing the winner earlier than usual, that has a lot to do with it, but much of the credit for that goes to our fantastic interns and Graduate Assistants who worked hard all fall and the first month and a half of spring semester to read through the many, many wonderful manuscripts we received, to help pick our finalists and winner. Without further ado, then, here are the results:
Avery Colt is a Snake, A Thief, A Liar by Ron Austin
Austin’s semi-autobiographical, linked story collection follows the misadventures of Avery Colt as he struggles to survive in North St. Louis alongside his family. Learning the best way to slaughter a goat, rebuilding his family’s corner market, and reckoning the weight of a revolver are a few of the challenges Avery faces. As he matures through each page, Avery takes control of his circumstances and attempts dangerous feats of alchemy. By confronting his own fears and limitations, he seeks to transform cruelty into compassion, rind into fruit, despair intohope. Charged with urgency and emotion, Austin’s raw prose faithfully renders a community determined to overcome crisis with strength, dark humor, and plenty of heart. The book will be published in Fall 2019.
Stories from the collection have been published in Black Warrior Review, Natural Bridge, Draft Horse, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, december, The Masters Review, Ninth Letter, Cog, Tahoma Literary Review, and Story Quarterly.
Ron A. Austin holds a MFA from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, has served as an editor for december and River Styx, and is a 2016 Regional Arts Commission Fellow. He has taught creative writing at the Pierre Laclede Honors College. He, his partner Jennie, and son Elijah live in St. Louis with a whippet named Carmen.
We Eat This Gold by Chris Drew
Weird Pig by Robert Long Foreman
A Sensual Guide to Housekeeping by Jeff Hayden
The Last Innocent Year: Stories by Kerry Jones
Someday Everything Will All Make Sense by Carol LaHines
Boys and Girls by Jane McDermott
Thank you all for your entries. Next year’s contest is open as of now. We can’t wait to read what you send!
We are excited to announce the winners of Big Muddy’s annual Mighty River Short Story Contest and the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest. See the winners and finalists below!
“Halloween, 2001” by Giovanna Varela
Giovanna Varela’s work is severely influenced by her hometown of Central Florida. She is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at The New School, and an MFA in film production at Emerson College. Her pilot script, “Flamingo City,” won 2nd place in Nevada International Film Festival’s 2017 TV screenplay competition. Her flash fiction has been published in Folio, Literary Juice, Rock & Sling, and the Owen Wister Review, and is forthcoming in Southern Indiana Review and Moon City Review.
“Nature Programs” by Richard Bartel
“Lunar Hymns” by Ryan Boyle
“Love Me Through a Hurricane” by Amina Gautier
“Many Other Ways to Die” by Lisa McKenzie
“Story, Baby” by Kate Simonian
Kate Osana Simonian is an Armenian-Australian writer of fiction and essays. She attends the English PhD program at Texas Tech as a Presidential Fellow. In 2017, she received the Nelson Algren Award and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers Conference. Her work has been published by, or is forthcoming in, Ninth Letter, The Kenyon Review Online, The Chicago Tribune, and The Best Australian Stories.
“Lies” by Andi Boyd
“Hearts & Spades” by Ryan Boyle
“What a Drag it is Getting Old (M. Jagger) by Yvonne Fein
“El Pobrecito on Catolico Street” by Mario Padilla
Congratulations to the winners and finalists!
Next year’s contests are open for submissions. For more information, see our events and contests page.
Proud to Be: Writing By American Warriors, vol. 6 will be out soon and we have a pre-order page up for it. Have a look for a list of contest winners and included pieces:
Big Muddy would like to congratulate our Pushcart Prize nominees for 2017, chosen from issues 17.1 and 17.2 (the latter of which will be back from the printers any day now!)
Here are the nominees:
“Hangman’s Game” by Sam Martone (17.2)
“One Trick Pony” by J. Bowers (17.2)
“Missouri is a Ghost Shaped Thing” by John Dorsey (17.2)
“Speaking in Rivers” by Keith Donnell Jr. (17.1)
“Midway” by Jessica Fokken (17.1)
“older” by Charlotte Covey (17.1)
Best of luck to all of you!
Also, sheesh, was it hard to narrow the list down to just six! Thanks for all the great reading you keep sending our way. We look forward to all of the submissions to come!
Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 5 presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families.