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.

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

Howling Bird Press Spotlights!

This year’s Howling Bird Press cohort has nine student editors. Six of the editors — plus an alumna volunteer and the HPB mentor — agreed to give the world a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain.

Kate Holman

Kate Holman headshot

Kate is studying in Publishing I and II in Augsburg’s MFA program. She is especially interested in the developmental editing and proofreading aspects of publishing.

Born and based in Minnesota, she is a poet and avid blogger, currently building her brand and voice. Her favorite authors are Taylor Jenkins Reid, Mindy Kaling, and Luvvie Ajayi Jones.

Katrina Gabelko

Katrina Gabelko headshot

Entering her second year in the MFA program, Katrina has had a great experience in the MFA program so far, despite having begun the program in the early months of the pandemic.The low-residency program structure and an incredibly creative faculty have made it possible for her to participate fully in addition to working as a registered nurse full-time.

Katrina has been a nurse since 1994. She draws most of her writing inspiration from her experiences at work. For over 25 years, she’s had the incredible privilege of caring for people confronted with unfathomable circumstances. Their stories need to be told— and she absolutely loves telling them.

In Katrina’s words: “Participating as a student editor with HBP has been rewarding and exciting. It’s a thrill to read a brand-new manuscript. At the same time, the editing and publishing worlds can be complex, bureaucratic, and frustrating at times. I won’t lie— it’s a great deal of work, especially in addition to writing classes. However, I’ve found that being a student editor richly enhances my writing practice— well worth the effort!”

Lucas Miller

Lucas Miller headshot

Luke is studying Publishing I and II in the MFA program. He is especially interested in the screenwriting and creative non-fiction components of the program.

Luke is a member of the Minnesota Screenwriter’s Workshop and has written four screenplays, receiving finalist recognition in the 2019 Diverse Voices Contest and the 2020 Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards. He was first inspired to write screenplays after watching the film “Ordinary People” when he was 14 years old.

He recently had two non-fiction essays published in the Murphy Square Literary Journal. His Mount Rushmore of writers are Colson Whitehead, Gillian Flynn, Aaron Sorkin, and Taylor Swift.

Outside of writing, Miller works as Director of Marketing and Business Development for the Pride Institute, a Twin Cities based LGBTQIA+ specific addiction treatment center. He resides in downtown Minneapolis with his dog, Stevie.

Pam Sinicrope

Pam Sinicrope headshot

Pam is an editor for Howling Bird Press pursuing her MFA through Augsburg University Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program with a primary focus on Poetry.

Her poems have appeared in Aethlon, The Night Heron Barks, Indolent Books, Murphy Square Literary Journal, Literary Mama, 3 Elements Review, and Appalachian Journal, among others.

Pam lives in Rochester, MN. She has a doctorate in Public Health and engages in research to eliminate health disparities with a focus in cancer prevention. She enjoys time with her family, hiking with her dog, tennis, and independent films. She is about to become an empty nester and looking forward to seeing her oldest and youngest sons graduate from college and high school. 

Nick Lindstrom

Nick Lindstrom headshot

Nick is from Minneapolis, MN. He is an aspiring horror writer whose favorite book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In his free time, Nick likes to fish, scuba dive, and smoke ribs.


Aaliyah headshot

Aaliyah is an editor for Howling Bird Press, studying Publishing in the MFA program. She is especially interested in the developmental editing and proofreading aspects.

Born and raised in Iowa, she specializes in CNF surrounding themes of race, identity, and mental health. Her favorite books are Men We Reaped, Lucy Temple, and the I am Number Four series.

Volunteer alumna – Amanda Symes

Amanda Symes headshot

Amanda was one of the first editors for Howling Bird press and loved the program so much that she still volunteers her time. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Mass Communication and Media Writing from Augsburg University, then her MFA in Fiction with a focus on publishing from Augsburg University Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. She’s a senior communications specialist by day and writer by night. She is usually outdoors, except when she’s indoors scaring herself by reading Shirley Jackson, Benjamin Percy, and Kelly Link.

Mentor – Jim Cihlar

Jim Cihlar headshot

Jim Cihlar is the Publishing Mentor and Poetry Mentor in Augsburg’s MFA program, where he teaches Publishing I and II and leads Howling Bird Press.

Jim has worked previously for Etruscan Press, Wiigwaas Press, New Rivers Press, and Krause Publications. His positions have included managing editor, marketing and sales director, program director, copy editor, and poetry editor. He has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Macalaster College, and the University of Wisconsin.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, where he served as a reader for Prairie Schooner and an editorial assistant for Great Plains Quarterly. He earned his BA from the University of Iowa, where he studied in the Writer’s Workshop. His most recent poetry book, The Shadowgraph, came out from the University of New Mexico Press. His writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, Western American Literature, and Lambda Literary Review.

2021 Poetry Prize – Cover Reveal

Howling Bird Press has awarded its 2021 poetry prize to “The Second Longest Day of the Year” by Jean Prokott of Rochester, Minnesota. The press will publish the book in November, and along with publication, Prokott will receive a $1,000 prize.

The Second Longest Day of the Year poetry book cover.

Prokott’s work was chosen in a national competition from among more than 200 submissions.

“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.”

Howling Bird Press on

NEW PAGES has selected Howling Bird Press book “Self, Divided” for their New & Noteworthy list for the month of May. We’re thrilled John Medeiros and his memoir are getting the recognition we know both deserve.

Check it out!

John Medeiros Reads on April 16 From Self, Divided

Press Release

 MINNEAPOLIS, March 29, 2021“No one should have to face a pandemic more than once in a lifetime.”

John Medeiros has. Now, everyone can hear his compelling story, and applaud the accounts of his numerous triumphs in the face of devastating adversity. Medeiros reads from his memoir, Self, Divided, in an online event for Quatrefoil Library on April 16 at 7:00 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public; advance registration is required via the library’s Facebook page: Additional information is available on Quatrefoil’s website:

It was on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic that Howling Bird Press awarded the 2020 nonfiction prize to Self, Divided, by John Medeiros of Minneapolis. Medeiros’ book debuted in early 2021. Readers can now embrace Self, Divided, participating fully in this incredible journey.

Self, Divided is the amazing story of identical twins, one of whom is gay and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-positive. Author Barrie Jean Borich writes, “[the twins are] each part of a whole that will not divide, even in times of desperate separation.” In his beautifully lyrical style, Medeiros starts at the very beginning, when he and his twin brother Bobby were created from an embryo cleaving into two in their mother’s womb. His frank, honest, brilliantly-written accounts of the twins as young children, throughout the school years and into adulthood, contain both gentle humor and pathos.

Medeiros says, “Writing creative nonfiction—more specifically, memoir . . . is an act of understanding, healing, survival. . . . The story represents the narrator’s struggle to find an identity completely separate from his twin brother—an identity that includes his own homosexuality and subsequent AIDS diagnosis.

An avid writer of poetry as well as creative nonfiction, Medeiros has an impressive list of awards and publications. Most recently, Self, Divided appeared in Lambda Literary’s “Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books” list. Medeiros is the recipient of AWP’s Intro Journals Award, two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants, and Gulf Coasts Nonfiction Award. He co-hosted the long-running Twin Cities reading series Queer Voices as well as co-edited an anthology of the same name published by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2019. His poetry book, couplets for a shrinking world (2012) was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.

Augsburg University’s student-run Howling Bird Press issues a nationwide call for submissions on an annual basis. The press launched in 2014 and is part of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Howling Bird Press publisher Jim Cihlar says, “Self, Divided is a tonic for our times. Lyrical, harrowing, and inventive, it details an experimental gene-therapy study at the National Institute of Health led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, which involved sets of twins, one gay and HIV-positive, the other straight and HIV-negative; it also traces the coming-of- age and self-actualization of the narrator.”

Howling Bird Press publishes one book per year as the winner of an annual contest. The contest alternates genres per year. This spring the press is open for submissions of fiction manuscripts. Our previous titles include Irreversible Things by Lisa Van Orman Hadley, Simples by KateLynn Hibbard, Still Life with Horses by Jean Harper, The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street by Jacob M. Appel, and At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody by Marci Vogel.

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.