Southeast Missouri State University Press

News and Events

Announcing the winner of the 2022 Nilsen Prize

We are excited to announce the winner of the 2022 Nilsen Prize. We received a record number of submissions, and it took us a while to read so much excellent work. We are very excited to announce the results. Without further ado, then:

Congratulations to our winner, Andrew Malan Milward, for his manuscript You Are Loved, which will be published in 2024.

Andrew Malan Milward was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the author of the story collections I Was a Revolutionary and The Agriculture Hall of Fame, as well as a book of nonfiction called Jayhawker: On History, Home, and Basketball. His fiction has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award and appeared in many places, including Zoetrope, American Short Fiction, VQR, and The Southern Review, as well as Best New American Voices. Milward has received fellowships and awards from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Corporation of Yaddo. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where he is Director of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky.

We’d also like to acknowledge the fantastic manuscripts that filled out our shortlist, in alphabetical order:

Filling the Big Empty by Rhonda Browning White
In Search Of by Michele Ruby
Let the Night Be Dark by Melanie McCabe
Odessa by Jeremy Griffin
Play, With Knives by Jeanette Horn
The Registry of Forgotten Objects by Michael Harvey
Roan by Mathew Goldberg
Tear Here by Matthew Pitt
This Is What Always Happens by Maureen Traverse

Thank you again, everyone, for trusting us with your work. Submissions for the 2024 prize will open in the fall.

Summer Ordering and Shipping

As our semester winds down around here, we’ll have limited hours on campus. We’ll still be shipping orders, but it might take a little bit longer through mid-August or so!

Announcing the winner of the 2022 Cowles Poetry Prize

We’re excited to announce the winner of our 2022 Cowles Poetry Prize. We received a *ton* of fantastic submissions this year. In fact, this year we received more submissions than we ever have before. It was a pleasure to read and think about all of these manuscripts. 

The winning manuscript was picked by our final judge, and previous prize winner, Rachel Hinton, from a set of manuscripts painstakingly selected by our initial readers. Here are the results: 


A Ribbon the Most Perfect Blue by Christine Kwon

Christine Kwon writes poetry and fiction and lives in a yellow shotgun house in New Orleans. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Recluse, Hot Pink Mag, The Yale Review, Sweet Mammalian, Joyland Magazine, Apocalypse Confidential, The Columbia Review, Recliner Mag, and X-Ray, among other places. Born in Queens, New York, and raised in New Jersey, she holds a BA from Yale and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A Ribbon the Most Perfect Blue will be published in 2023!


This Smile is Starting to Hurt by Dylan Loring
Lavish Cruelty by Katie Jean Shinkle
Keeping in the Dark by Noah Stetzer
Eveningful by Jennifer Whalen


Happy Everything by Caitlin Cowan
Whipsaw by Suzanne Frischkorn
The Continuing Book by Robert Okaji
Inside the Golden Hunting Years by Delaney Olmo
A Grito Contest in the Afterlife by Vincent Rendoni
Night Swimming by Liz Robbins
Variable of Uncertain Effect by Matthew Schmidt
Steady, Girl by Leona Sevick
Family, Extended by Mark Smith-Soto
I’d Rather Be Lightning by Nancy Woo

Announcing the Winner and Finalists of the 2021 Nilsen Prize

We are pleased to announce the winner, along with the finalists and semi-finalists:


The Last Innocent Year: Stories by Kerry Jones

Kerry Jones was raised in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, attended Mansfield University and Temple University, and received her MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, where she now teaches. Her fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including Orchid, Night Train, The Rambler, Bryant Literary Review, Sycamore Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Seems, and most recently in SLAB.


Impossible Object: A Novel in Stories by Robyn Carter
All Hours by Bernard Grant
Contingent Contingencies by Leah McCormack
Forgottonia by Chad Simpson


Roan by Mathew Goldberg
The Kind of Music Not a Song by Tamar Jacobs
A Cabinet of Curiosity by Leanne Ogasawara
Dust Between Clouds: A Palestinian Story by Hadeel Salameh
How do you like these bad days? By Maggie Smith
How Do I Seem? By Joe Truscello
Whole by Derek Updegraff

Thank you all for submitting and trusting us with your work. This is never an easy decision, and there were so many wonderful manuscripts.

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New Releases

Proud to Be: Writing By American Warriors, volume 12


The anthology Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors series showcases writing from military veterans and their families from across the nation, including writing about WWI and WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf Conflict, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

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The Last Innocent Year

By Kerry Jones

"Kerry Jones’s work opens our eyes anew. The subtle interplay among her characters is in stark contrast to the action those characters experience. This is life as we live it, often odd, sometimes funny, but always dramatic." —Perry Glasser, author of American Mayhem

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Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival: 2022, The Short Plays

By ed. by Kitt Lavoie and Kenneth L. Stilson

This collection features the five short plays that were Official Selections of the 2021 Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival – all written by
playwrights based in Missouri (the home state of both the festival and its Pulitzer Prize-winning namesake).

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Book cover, all text, small red text says Winner of the Cowles Poetry Prize, most of the cover features bright blue, uneven letters reading A RIBBON THE MOST PERFECT BLUE. The author's name, Christine Kwon, appears in red at the bottom of the page.

A Ribbon The Most Perfect Blue

By Christine Kwon

"These poems luxuriate on elegance in a way that feels entirely necessary, the way Garbo's eyes lit up the Great Depression or Julie London's voice puts you in the moods to open your flower. Kwon's casually gorgeous lines are the best thing since melted butter."—D.A. POWELL

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Featured Author

Ron A. Austin

Avery Colt Is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar

Ron A. Austin’s short stories have been placed in Pleiades, Story Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, and other journals. Avery Colt Is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar, his first collection of linked stories, won the 2017 Nilsen Prize. Austin’s work has garnered a 2016 Regional Arts Commission Fellowship and a special mention in the 2015 Pushcart Prize Anthology. He, his partner Jennie, and son Elijah live in St. Louis.

More about Avery Colt Is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar|