Southeast Missouri State University Press

News and Events

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.

Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize

We’re thrilled to announce the winner and finalists for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Prize. Our dedicated readers and interns spent countless hours reading many (so many!) fantastic manuscripts. The competition was fierce, and we passed along twenty manuscripts to our final judge, Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, who narrowed down the list to a top five, from which she selected this year’s winner. We are so incredibly grateful you all trust us with your vital, magnificent work. And of course, we’re already accepting submissions for the 2022 contest. Without further ado, then, our winner, shortlist, and longlist:

Winner: Gold Hill Family Audio by Corrie Lynn White

Corrie Lynn White’s poetry has appeared in Oxford AmericanNew Ohio ReviewBest New PoetsMid American Review, and Mississippi Review, among other places. Originally from Gold Hill, North Carolina, she holds a BA from UNC Chapel Hill and an MFA from UNC Greensboro. She currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she works as a journalist and was named the 2021 Tennessee Arts Commission Fellow in Poetry. Gold Hill Family Audio will be published in fall, 2022!


bad prayer by Katie Berta
Dear Daughter, by Ellen Kombiyil
Eveningful by Jennifer Whalen


Out of Nowhere: Poems by Susan Comninos
star vehicle (the year i moved to st. louis) by Charlotte Covey
Happy Everything by Caitlin Cowan
A Suit of Paper Feathers
by Nate Duke
Cry Perfume
by Sadie Dupuis
Whipsaw by Suzanne Frischkorn
Swan Hammer: An Instructor’s Guide to Mirrors by Maggie Graber
No Spare People by Erin Hoover
This Smile is Starting to Hurt by Dylan Loring
History Lesson by Todd Osborne
Steady, Girl by Leona Sevick
Black Don’t Crack by Valerie Smith
On Main Street by Alex Turissini
Notes on Silence and Noise by Suzanne Wise
pH of Au by Vanessa Couto Johnson

Once again, thank you all for trusting us with your work! It’s truly an honor.

Announcing the winner of the 2020 Nilsen Prize

We are excited to announce the winner and finalists of the 2020 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. The winning manuscript will be published, and the author will receive $2,000. Thank you to everyone who entered! It was an honor and a pleasure to read your words. The 2021 contest is open at:

Winner: Juan Eugenio Ramirez – The Man with Wolves for Hands

Though born in Washington state, Juan Eugenio Ramirez spent most of his formative years in Florida. Having taught both middle school and high school these past fifteen years, Juan holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA from Florida State University. His work has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Armchair/Shotgun, and Madcap Review. He currently teaches high school English at St. Francis School, an independent, progressive education school in Louisville, Kentucky.


Michael Chaney – The Cartoonal and You
Kevin Clouther – Maximum Speed
Diane Josefowicz – Easy Journeys to Other Planets
Ben Miller – Meanwhile in the Dronx
Thomas Pyun – The Beginning of Our End
Jessica Savitz – Television in the Mountains
Evelyn Somers – Katybomb, Katybomb
Derek Updegraff – Whole
Rebecca Wurtz – The Mapmaker’s Body

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New Releases

Closeup of a woman soldier , the title reads Proud To Be volume 11

Proud to Be: Writing By American Warriors, Volume 11

By ed. James Brubaker

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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Gold Hill Family Audio

By Corrie Lynn White

"Corrie Lynn White’s debut collection stays faithful to the idea that holiness can be found in any earthly place." —David Roderick, author of The Americans

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The Man with Wolves for Hands

By Juan Eugenio Ramirez

In The Man with Wolves for Hands, Metaphor folds into allegory, folds into psychological exploration, folds into a meditation on trauma and struggle.

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Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival: 2021, 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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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.

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