2024 Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize Winner

Howling Bird Press is pleased to announce that Emily Hyland is the winner of the 2024 Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize for her manuscript Divorced Business Partners. The manuscript was selected by students at Augsburg University’s MFA program from a short-list of nine finalists and will be published by Howling Bird Press in fall 2024.

Divorced Business Partners follows spouses as they take on a business venture and open a restaurant. The little business quickly becomes successful, but their marriage collapses in the process. Before they know it, husband and wife are nothing more than divorced business partners.

Emily Hyland’s poetry has appeared in The Brooklyn Review, Frontier Poetry, and The Hollins Critic, among others. She earned her MFA in poetry and her MA in English education from Brooklyn College. Her cookbook, Emily: The Cookbook, was published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, in 2018. Hyland is the eponymous co-founder of the international restaurant groups Pizza Loves Emily + Emmy Squared Pizza. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she writes and teaches yoga. emilyhyland.com / emmysquaredpizza.com / pizzalovesemily.com

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. In April 2024, we will open for submissions for our Fiction prize. We hope to see your manuscript then.

2024 Howling Bird Press Poetry Contest Finalists and Semifinalists

Congrats to the Finalists of the 2024 Howling Bird Press Poetry Contest (listed in alphabetical order)

A winner will be selected from this finalist list in January 2024 and announced by February.

  • Villain(era), John Andrews
  • subway psalms, Tamar Ashdot
  • Venus of the Midwest, Justine Defever
  • Divorced Business Partners, Emily Hyland
  • Gothic, April Lindner
  • Thirsty, C. Eliot Mullins
  • Imagine a Woman, Dorothy Neagle
  • Heartbreak and Spaceships in the Age of Extraterrestrials, Osmani Ochoa
  • Mending of a Body, TW Sia

And congratulations to our semifinalists:

  • Finding Meteorites in Antarctica, Paul Brooke
  • The Book of Drought, Robert Carney
  • Fortuna Redux, Faith Ellington
  • The Stoop and the Steeple, Nancy Meyer
  • Refugee, Erika Michael
  • All the Salty Sand in Our Mouths, Samodh Porawagamage
  • Otherly, Rebecca Reynolds
  • Rooting for Spices, Rod Carlos Rodriguez
  • A Wonder of Furies, Stella Witcher

Thank you to all our incredible submitters. We were blown away by the quality of the submissions we received and had an incredibly difficult time narrowing down to these semifinalists and finalists. We appreciate the talent, time, and dedication that goes into putting together such works and look forward to seeing you continue to blow readers away in your future writing endeavors!


Cover art by Tom Bartek

The Masters Review has posted a wonderful review of our 2022 Fiction Prize winner, I Have Her Memories Now by Carrie Grinstead! Reviewer Cole Meyer writes, “Grinstead brings her remarkable talent to each story in this slim collection. There are only six stories, but every single line earns its stay. Grinstead shows again and again that she has a gift for the surprising but inevitable conclusion, and it’s no wonder Howling Bird Press selected this collection for this year’s book prize. The path of each of these stories is so particular, I can’t imagine any writer other than Grinstead having penned them.” To read the full review, visit The Masters Review here.

Now Reading Nonfiction Manuscripts!

From April 2 through July 31, 2022, we are accepting submissions in 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 length should be between 20,000 and 60,000 words. File formats should be either Word .doc or .docx. Pages should be numbered; include author’s name and address.

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. Submitters must be the original author, not an agent of/for the author. The winner is announced in January 2023. The winner receives $2,500 and book publication in fall 2023. 

Howling Bird Press books are distributed by Small Press Distribution, and are available at online retailers and in bookstores nationwide.


SELF, DIVIDED named a Minnesota Book Award Finalist

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced the finalists for the Minnesota Book Award on January 29, 2022. Howling Bird Press nonfiction prize winning title Self, Divided by John Medeiros was named one of four finalists in the category of memoir and creative nonfiction.

The winner will be announced at the Thirty-Fourth Annual Minnesota Book Awards on April 26, 7:00 p.m., in Saint Paul at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit the website for the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

Self, Divided was selected from a national contest run by Howling Bird Press, and was edited, and published by student editors enrolled in Publishing I & II, the yearlong English course offered by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Augsburg University, taught by James Cihlar.

“Self, Divided is an immersive journey to the self’s ‘true north’ against the backdrop of identical twinship, growing up working class, coming out, and living with HIV/AIDS, ” writes novelist Brian Malloy. “Captivating not only for Medeiros’s evocative lyricism, but also for his original and imaginative use of narrative space, his quest to create an identity all his own is a sad, funny, and memorable story of growth against the odds, written in the language of hard-won victory.”

In 1995 John Medeiros and his identical twin brother participated in a gene therapy study in which the HIV-positive twin was infused with billions of genes from the HIV-negative twin. This memoir details, from an individual perspective, how the world responded (and didn’t respond) to the first (and still ongoing) pandemic of HIV/AIDS. Self, Divided explores the dysfunctional yet enduring relationships that surround this pivotal moment in Medeiros’s life and family, brilliantly capturing how we all are connected, in one way or another, to those around us. 

Author Barrie Jean Borich writes, “Most memoirs grapple with the individual seen again, but for John Medeiros this mirroring is literal. Self, Divided considers the author’s life as an identical twin. One brother is gay and HIV-positive, the other a straight Christian, each part of a whole that will not divide, even in times of desperate separation. How can two men, intermingled since birth but whose life paths diverge, come to truly brother one another? Rendered in lyric form that is at once severed and continuous, this memoir pulses deep.” 

John Medeiros is a poet, memoirist, identical twin, and lawyer. He is the author of couplets for a shrinking world and co-editor of Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose, and Pride. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals, and he is the recipient of two Minnesota State Arts Board grants, Gulf Coast’s Nonfiction Award, and the AWP Intro Journals Award. He has an MFA and a JD from Hamline University, and he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his husband.

Howling Bird Press Fiction Book Prize Winner

Congratulations to our 2022 fiction winner and finalists!

WINNER: Carrie Grinstead, I Have Her Memories Now

Congratulations are also in order for our top finalists. It was difficult to choose only one book with so many great stories. Our four finalists are:

  • Sharon Hashimoto, Stealing Home
  • Jessica Hollander, Neighborhood Watch
  • Jessica Pitchford, Can’t Walk Out
  • Midge Raymond, Rogue Valley
Howling Bird Press Fiction Book Prize winner's names.

Jean Prokott to read and sign new poetry book at Garden Party Books

On Friday, November 12, from 6:30–8:30 p.m., Rochester poet Jean Prokott will be at the new Garden Party Books (602 7th St NW) for a poetry reading and book signing. Jean was awarded the 2021 Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize for The Second Longest Day of the Year from among more than two hundred submissions received from across the country. Prokott will be joined by local poets and writers, Sue McMillan (Rochester poet laureate), Lisa Higgs, Pamela Sinicrope, and Melissa Brandt, who will read a few poems to open the evening. Light food and refreshments will be provided.

The Second Longest Day of the Year tackles a variety of subjects, such as mental health, the pandemic, women’s rights, and even our famous corn tower, with notes of both seriousness and humor. “I see the book as a reflection of the inner vs. outer selves we experience day-by-day, hour-by-hour,” Prokott says. “Each of us goes from trying to understand, existentially, who we are, what our place is, what grief does to us—while at the same time trying to understand the same things from a political perspective. The collection moves between how our personal experience defines us as much as how political culture defines us.”

According to Sierra DeMulder, author of Today Means Amen, “The Second Longest Day of the Year offers us a poetic landscape that is easily entered but not lightly forgotten. Jean Prokott’s writing is agile. It moves gracefully from a stark wittiness and conversational observations to unforgettable imagery evoking the true palpability of grief. You’ll find yourself pausing between pages to reflect and revel; to mourn or query; to grow and keep going.”

The Second Longest Day of the Year will be available for purchase at Garden Party Books. Negative Covid test or proof of vaccination are required to attend. 

Jean Prokott has work published or forthcoming in Arts & LettersAngel City ReviewAnomaly, and Adirondack Review, among other journals; she is a recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award, a recipient of the Joan Ramseyer Poetry Award, a finalist for the RHINO Founder’s Prize, and a finalist for the Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize. She has an MFA from Minnesota State University Mankato and a Master of Science in Education.

Howling Bird Press is a student-run publishing house at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The press launched in 2014 and is part of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Augsburg University: www.augsburg.edu/mfa. For additional information, please contact Jim Cihlar, publisher, at cihlar@augsburg.edu. Facebook and Instagram: @howlingbirdpress  Twitter: @HowlingBirdPrs

HBP’s next book is available for pre-order!

The Second Longest Day of the Year book cover

The Second Longest Day of the Year, by Jean Prokott, is now available for pre-order. Jean is the Howling Bird Press 2021 Poetry Prize winner and we’re thrilled to see the great things Jean – and her book of poetry – will do!

Pre-order the book here.

“THE SECOND LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR offers us a poetic landscape that is easily entered but not lightly forgotten. Jean Prokott’s writing is agile. It moves gracefully from a stark wittiness and conversational observations to unforgettable imagery evoking the true palpability of grief. You’ll find yourself pausing between pages to reflect and revel; to mourn or query; to grow and keep going.”
-Sierra DeMulder