Prairie Schooner names 2016 Book Prize winners

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Prairie Schooner names 2016 Book Prize winners

Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced the winners of its annual book awards for poetry and short fiction. The winners were chosen from more than 1,200 submissions from around the world.

The 2016 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction goes to Venita Blackburn for her manuscript “Black Jesus and Other Superheroes,” chosen by guest judges Jennine Capó Crucet and Helon Habila with Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes. Blackburn’s stories appear or are forthcoming in American Short Fiction, the Georgia Review, Pleiades, Bat City Review, Nashville Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Santa Monica Review, Faultline, Devil’s Lake literary journal and Bellevue Literary Review, among others. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship and Pushcart Prize nomination in 2014. Blackburn is from Compton, California, and earned her master of fine arts from Arizona State University. She now lives and teaches in Phoenix.

The winner of the 2016 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry is Susan Gubernat for her manuscript “The Zoo at Night,” chosen by guest judges Valzhyna Mort and Hilda Raz with Dawes. Gubernat is also the author of “Flesh,” which won the Marianne Moore Prize, and a chapbook, “Analog House.” As an opera librettist, her major work, “Korczak’s Orphans” by composer Adam Silverman, has been performed in a number of venues and by various companies, including in the VOX New Composers Series of the New York City Opera and by the Opera Company of Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Michigan Quarterly, The Pinch, Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, Stand and the Yalobusha Review. Gubernat’s awards and honors include residencies at the MacDowell, Millay, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Yaddo colonies, as well as artist’s fellowships from the states of New York and New Jersey. She holds a master of fine arts in poetry from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is a professor in the English department at California State University, East Bay, where she co-founded and now advises the Arroyo Literary Review.

Each winner will receive $3,000 and publication from the University of Nebraska Press.

The competition, now in its 14th year, runs Jan. 15 to March 15 annually. Submission details and a list of past winners are available here.

Founded in 1926, Prairie Schooner is a national literary quarterly published with the support of the English department at UNL. It publishes fiction, poetry, essays and reviews by beginning, mid-career and established writers.

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