KateLynn Hibbard at SubText Bookstore on March 6

Come celebrate with Howling Bird Press poet KateLynn Hibbard on March 6 at 7:00 p.m. She will be reading from Simples at SubText Bookstore in downtown St. Paul, 6 West Fifth Street. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

For more information, visit the bookstore’s website:


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Lisa Van Orman Hadley wins Fiction Prize

(February 2019, Minneapolis) The editors of Howling Bird Press are excited to announce the finalists and winner of the 2019 Fiction Prize:


Irreversible Things, Lisa Van Orman Hadley

Finalists (in alphabetical order)

The Physically Challenged: Stories, Henry Alley

The Spillway, Anne Elliott

Rotten Nectarines, Faith Holsaert

A Dead General, Wayne Karlin

Smash and Grab: Love Stories, Kirk Wilson

The press is grateful to the many authors who entered. It was an honor to consider such amazing submissions. The winning book will be published in fall 2019. Please check back here and on our social media for further updates.

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KateLynn Hibbard Interviewed by Book Reviewer Mary Ann Grossmann in the St. Paul Pioneer Press

KateLynn Hibbard, author of Simples

Recently, Pioneer Press Book Review Editor Mary Ann Grossman sat down with KateLynn Hibbard to discuss Simples, the Howling Bird Press 2018 Poetry Prize winner.

“I want people who think they don’t like poetry to read this book and maybe change their minds,” Hibbard tells Grossmann. “It  seemed like a good hybrid of forms, incorporating history and poetry. There is a lot more historical fiction than historical poetry. I think of history in a way that is probably not typical. I deal with the emotional connection to it first of all.”

Grossman writes, “The collection includes poems about the rules single-women teachers had to follow (You must wear at least two petticoats), a battered wife who prays her husband will not come home drunk again, a mother writing to her sister listing five children who died in five years and how the locusts left nothing to eat, and an angry woman who makes money selling eggs, which she walks five miles to sell, but only her husband’s name is on the legal documents.”

“There are happy poems in the collection, too,” Grossman adds, “about making wild rose elixir, and the satisfaction of a woman who made curtains for her home. . . . Several of Hibbard’s poems are about naming flora and fauna.”

Read the full interview to learn more about Hibbard’s research and writing process:


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November 15 is Give to the Max Day: Please donate to Howling Bird Press


Please give generously to Howling Bird Press and support literary publishing! Your donation will help produce and promote our 2019 book while giving students a chance to learn about the editorial profession. Donors of $100 and up will have their names listed in our next book.

Howling Bird Press is the book imprint of Augsburg University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Students enrolled in the publishing concentration, a two-semester course sequence, do the work of running the press, including editing, marketing, and fundraising, while studying the publishing profession and the book trade. The press sponsors an annual nationwide contest, which is judged by the student editors and senior faculty of the Creative Writing program. The press publishes the winning manuscript.

The author receives a cash prize, book publication, distribution, and an invitation to read at the MFA program’s summer residency in Minneapolis. The contest is open to manuscripts of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction on an alternating basis. Simples,by KateLynn Hibbard, is the winner of the 2018 Poetry Prize. Our previous books are Still Life with Horsesby Jean Harper, winner of the 2017 Nonfiction Prize; The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street by Jacob M. Appel, winner of the 2016 Fiction Prize; and At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody by Marci Vogel, winner of the 2015 Poetry Prize. Howling Bird Press books are distributed by Small Press Distribution; they are available online and in bookstores nationwide.

Thank you for helping us promote creative writing, literature, education, and editing. We appreciate your support!

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KateLynn Hibbard reads at Twin Cities Book Festival, October 13

Cover design and photograph by Steve Foley

By Sarv Mithaqiyan

We are excited to announce the official release of Simples by KateLynn Hibbard, winner of the 2018 Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize, with an event at the Twin Cities Book Festival, October 13, 2018, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  Hibbard will read poems, engage in a Q and A, and sign books at 10:30 a.m. on the Rain Stage in the Fine Arts Center on the Fairgrounds.

Hibbard, a professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, based Simples on extensive research into the history of women’s experiences on the American prairie during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Simples uses free verse and poetic form and persona to examine the lives of women against the backdrop of the Great Plains, with close attention to flora and fauna as well as the goods and materials of daily life. This unblinking look at a historical moment examines hardships both endured and inflicted.

Poet and Augsburg MFA Mentor Heid Erdrich has praised Simples as “a book of remedy and release on the prairies of old. Poems in the voices of women who survive the requirements of their lives as subservient wives, daughters, laborers reveal another life of the settler colonial era. These women code their communications to liberate one another from despair, abuse, unwanted pregnancy, and the heartbreak of lovelessness or longing for love that cannot be. This is not the pioneer woman claiming the prairie, but the prairie claiming the women it teaches to survive.”

Come celebrate the publication of our annual prizewinner at this debut event! Hibbard’s reading and signing also includes a dialogue with Augsburg MFA Mentor Karen Babine, author of Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life and All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer. 

The Twin Cities Book Festival is the preeminent annual conference for book lovers in Minnesota. It runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, in the Progress Center and the Fine Arts Center of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. It is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Rain Taxi Review of Books, the festival draws 6,000 attendees and features 100 presenters and exhibitors. According to Rain Taxi, this “is not only the largest, most adventurous literary event in the Upper Midwest; it is THE annual get-together for devoted book lovers from the Twin Cities and beyond!” Howling Bird Press and Augsburg University’s MFA in Creative Writing are proud sponsors of this year’s festival. For more information, including the full line-up of speakers, a map, and directions, see: http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/

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‘Still Life with Horses’ Nominated as Finalist for the Midwest Independent Publishing Association Award

Still Life with Horses, winner of the Howling Bird Press 2017 Nonfiction Prize, has been nominated as a finalist for the Midwest Independent Publishing Association Award in the category of Autobiography/Memoir. For author Jean Harper, the success of her memoir has been a long process that began with the death of one her best friends; a horse named Buddy. In a recent interview with the online literary blog The Review Review, Harper said that “when you love an animal it’s almost a primal thing. You speak in ways beyond language, through the body; so when you’re writing about that animal, it’s as though the whole body is writing. It’s exhausting; it’s exhilarating.”

A prolific writer, Harper’s first book is titled Rose City: A Memoir of Work. Her essays have appeared in The Florida Review, North American Review, Iowa Review, Harpur Palate, Yemasee Review, and elsewhere. She also teaches writing and literature at Indiana University East. When asked about the her process of writing Still Life with Horses, Harper said that at first “it was a big bloated mess of a draft, but that’s how I like to work:  have something to edit.”

Throughout the interview, Harper emphasized that all writers go through the same process of getting stuck, getting rejected, searching for the right word, and endlessly fiddling with the same paragraph, but added, “you have company. You are a real writer.” She went on to express gratitude for mentoring provided by editors and the networks created by literary journals. Harper stated that, “a good editor is such a fantastic learning experience for a writer.”

Perhaps the greatest takeaway from the interview with Harper was her commitment to her craft. As Harper stated, “I’m paying attention all the time; I’m writing it down on paper all the time.” When asked about her nonfiction characters, Harper expressed the need to “get it right” and to be truthful and honest. But ultimately, she said, her “allegiance is to the story.”

 The full interview by Tanya Perkins and posted by The Review Review is found at: A Chat with Memoirist Jean Harper. Harper’s book, Still Life with Horses is published by Howling Bird Press and distributed through Small Press Distribution.   
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Jean Harper speaks about love, resiliency and persistence

Click on image to listen to podcast

Jean Harper’s book may be inspired by the depths of a friendship she formed with a horse, but you don’t need to be a horse-lover to find meaning in this book. If you’ve ever been in a dead-end relationship, found yourself in a stagnant place when you yearned to grow, or tolerated someone simply because it was easier than making a difficult change, this book will speak to you.

Harper says once you find the capacity to love deeply, you will always have that ability. When you are doing something you believe in, whether it be writing a story that needs to be told, learning to ride a horse, or learning to love, keep doing it and your experience will pay off. This is perhaps why Harper never gave up on telling the story of Still Life with Horses. She knew it had to be told and that it had the capacity to inspire others. Listen to her interview and then pick up this life-changing book!

Direct link to podcast



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Howling Bird Press at the 2018 AWP in Tampa, Florida

Howling Bird Press was proudly represented at the 2018 Conference for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) in Tampa, Florida. The annual event, which regularly includes more than 12,000 attendees, 2,000 presenters, and 550 readings, is the premier national conference for the field of publishing.

Learn more about AWP:  https://www.awpwriter.org/awp_conference/overview.

This year, Howling Bird Press was among over 800 exhibitors at the bookfair, which lasted the length of the conference: March 7 to 10. The bookfair included major commercial publishers alongside independent literary journals and presses, writing programs, and literary arts organizations. In addition to the bookfair, the conference featured experts in writing, editing, and publishing.

The Howling Bird Press exhibit was attended by past and current students as well as Program Director Stephan Clark, Associate Director Lindsay Starck, and Howling Bird Publisher Jim Cihlar.  Signing books were 2016 and 2017 Howling Bird Prize winners Jacob M. Appel and Jean Harper.

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Howling Bird Press Fiction Contest Opens April 1

March 1, 2018

Fiction Prize Howling Bird Press Press Release

Fiction Flyer Howling Bird Press


Howling Bird Press Fiction Contest Opens April 1
Augsburg University’s student publishing house welcomes manuscripts

MINNEAPOLIS, March 1, 2018 — Howling Bird Press, the publishing house of Augsburg University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing, seeks submissions for its 2019 National Fiction Book Prize.

“Howling Bird Press is a proud literary publisher in the Twin Cities, a metropolitan area recognized as a center of literature and the arts. Founded in 2014, we are happy to contribute our voice to the national conversation by publishing books of consequence,” said Jim Cihlar, publisher of Howling Bird Press.

Previous Howling Bird Press Prize Winners

  • KateLynn Hibbard, Simples, poetry, 2018
  • Jean Harper, Still Life with Horses, nonfiction, 2017
  • Jacob Appel, The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street, fiction, 2016
  • Marci Vogel, At the Border of Wilshire and Nobody, poetry, 2015

The competition is open to all writers in English, whether published or unpublished. The author of the winning manuscript receives a cash award of $1,000 and book publication. Augsburg MFA faculty and students will serve as contest judges.

Jean Harper, 2017 winner of nonfiction prize recently said, “The graduate students at Howling Bird Press were fantastic to work with, as was Jim Cihlar who led the editing process. I think most helpful was the attention to the various story lines that wind through the book; the editing focused on making sure story lines were consistent, coherent, and maintained. It really came down to small tinkerings here and there, which made all the difference.”

Contest Guidelines

Published books from previous winners can be found at Howling Bird Press’s website, http://engage.augsburg.edu/howlingbird/books/.

Follow our news updates at Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/howlingbirdpress/.
Subscribe to our Twitter feed, https://twitter.com/HowlingBirdPrs.


About Howling Bird Press
Howling Bird Press is a student run publishing house at Augsburg University located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The press launched in 2014, is located at www.augsburg.edu/mfais part of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. If you need additional information please contact Jim Cihlar, Publisher, at Howling Bird Press at 612-210-2656 or by email at cihlar@augsburg.edu.

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