Open for Submissions of Creative Nonfiction!

Howling Bird Press, the publishing house of Augsburg University’s MFA in Creative Writing, offers an annual prize that results in book publication. As a teaching press, we are staffed by graduate students enrolled in our Publishing Concentration. Our prize alternates genres annually, from poetry to fiction to nonfiction.

From April 1 to July 31, 2019, we are accepting submissions in creative nonfiction. The press welcomes innovative, original work from established and emerging authors. The competition is open to all writers in English living in the U.S., whether published or unpublished. Manuscript word counts should be in the 20,000 to 50,000 range. File formats should be either Word .doc or .docx. Pages should be numbered, and the author’s name and address should appear on the first page.

Include a cover letter in the form provided online, and list contact information and a short (100 to 200 word) bio. There is a $25 entry fee. Current and former students of Augsburg’s MFA in Creative Writing are ineligible, as are current faculty and staff of Augsburg University. The winner is announced in January 2020. The winner receives $1,000 and book publication in fall 2020.

Submit online here:

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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:

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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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