Lisa Van Orman Hadley on #AugsburgStrong

When I first arrived at the Augsburg MFA residency as the winner of the 2019 Howling Bird Book Prize in Fiction, I was nervous. I had never been to Minneapolis and had never met a single person at Augsburg face-to-face. I met Kathleen Matthews first. She was warm and interesting to talk to as she walked me to my dorm room. That night I found my way to dinner. I felt like the new kid on her first day of school walking into the lunchroom for the first time, amidst a sea of unfamiliar faces. I approached a table with one empty seat and asked if I could sit down. From that moment on, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about. I was welcomed into the circle and into the conversation. The students at the table were bright, kind, and thoughtful. Some of the people at the table had worked, together with Jim Cihlar, on my book as part of Howling Bird Press.

Let me pause here to talk for a minute about the press. It’s scary to hand off the book you have worked on for years and years to people you don’t know. But it was apparent from the very beginning that my book was in good hands. As they ushered Irreversible Things toward publication and beyond, the people that comprise Howling Bird Press were attentive, savvy, and hardworking. The finished product exceeded my expectations and I have very high expectations. 

During my three days on campus, I had experiences like the one at the dinner table again and again as I met more students and faculty. By the time I read my stories at Sateren Hall, I was reading to a crowd of friends. When I returned home to Salt Lake City, I had a whole community a thousand miles away at Augsburg. We have continued our conversations and friendships online. I feel lucky to be a part of the Augsburg MFA community.

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 The competition is open to all writers in English living in the U.S., whether published or unpublished.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:

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: