Howling Bird Press National Book Prize

Howling Bird Logo


2016 Howling Bird Press Fiction Award

$1,000 award, plus publication of book and 25 copies

Howling Bird Press, the publishing house of Augsburg College’s MFA in Creative Writing, seeks submissions for its 2016 Fiction Award. The press welcomes innovative, original work from established and emerging authors. Manuscripts may be a short novel, a novella, or a collection of short stories (which may also include a novella). Word count: 40,000–60,000.

The competition is open to all writers in English, whether published or unpublished. Author of the winning manuscript receives a cash award of $1,000, which serves as an advance, with book subsequently published by Howling Bird Press under a standard book contract.

Contest Guidelines

  • Submission period: April 1–June 30, 2015
  • Online submission, including $25 entry fee, should be made through:
  • MFA fiction faculty and publishing students will serve as judges
  • Winner will be announced November 1, 2015

Manuscript Guidelines

  • Manuscripts may be a collection of short stories or a short novel. The collection of short stories may include a novella.
  • Manuscripts should be 40,000–60,000 words.
  • Stories previously published in literary magazines or anthologies may be included in a submitted manuscript. However, previously published short novels or novellas may not be submitted.
  • Manuscript pages must be numbered.
  • Table of contents should be included (if applicable).
  • Authors may submit more than one manuscript to the competition for consideration as long as no material is duplicated between submissions. Each submission will require a separate entry fee.
  • Manuscripts under consideration for this competition may be submitted elsewhere at the same time. Please withdraw your manuscript if it is accepted by another publisher and should no longer be considered for the Howling Bird Press competition. Withdrawal can be completed via the Submittable manager website. Entry fees are not refundable

Blind-Review Process

The intent of this contest is that manuscripts will be considered on the merits of the fiction and that judges will be unaware of the names or publication records of the contestants.

  • Please DO NOT include your name on the pages of the manuscript—only in the form boxes of the manager.
  • The first page of the manuscript should include only the title of the collection.
  • For short stories, acknowledgement(s) of prior publication is permissible.
  • Judges who recognize specific works will recuse themselves from those titles; submissions will be reassigned to other judges.

Submission Confirmation and Contestant Notification: You should receive an e-mail confirmation immediately after submission. An announcement about the winner will be sent to all entrants via e-mail by November 15, 2015.

Winning-Author Notification: The winning author has ten days to accept the award and ten days to sign the contract once it is received. As detailed in the contract, the book’s production and marketing will be undertaken by students in the MFA’s publishing concentration and supervised by publishing faculty.



Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing

Programs in Poetry / Fiction / Creative Nonfiction / Screenwriting / Playwriting

Concentrations in Teaching / Translation / Publishing


Poet Marci Vogel Wins First Howling Bird Press Literary Prize

A California poet whose book-length collection explores American life, art, history and culture through a range of eclectic voices, forms, images and styles has been awarded the inaugural Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize, sponsored by the MFA in Creative Writing program at Augsburg College.

Marci Vogel, a native of Los Angeles, was named winner of the national competition recently judged in blind reviews by students and faculty of the MFA editorial board. Her book, At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody, will be released next summer by Howling Bird, the program’s publishing house.

In addition to publication of her collection, which will be edited, designed and marketed by students as part of their studies in the book trade, Vogel receives $1,000 first-place prize. In their decision, editors cited the poet’s “attentive, imaginative use of language” among many impressive features of her work.

Vogel is currently a Provost’s Fellow in the Ph.D. program in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California, where she teaches in the honors writing program and served as poetry editor of the USC-based Gold Line Press. Before entering USC in fall 2012, she taught at a small elementary school for 22 years.

A long-time writer of prose, Vogel began writing poems in her forties. Her work has earned nominations for the Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, the “Best New Poets” anthology, the AWP Intro Journals Project and the Pushcart Prize. Vogel’s translation from French into English of Andrée Chedid’s 1956 poetry sequence, “In the Noon of Contradictions,” was selected for the 2014 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize.

A book-launch event, including public reading for the author, will be held in Minneapolis during the Augsburg MFA Summer Residency.

Editors reviewed more than 60 submissions to the contest. Shortlist finalists included “The Poet Who Dated a Literalist” (aka “Arm Wrestling at the Iowa State Fair”), by Paul Brooke; “What to Pack, What to Carry,” by Elizabeth Rees; and “That Ecstatic Junction,” by Weston Cutter.

Read about Howling Bird & the publishing program in the Sunday, Nov.9, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Augsburg’s Howling Bird press ready to take off” by Mary Ann Grossman.

Publishing Program

The MFA publishing sequence  features a two-semester arc of courses designed to introduce students to various aspects of the trade, including acquisition, editing, graphic design, production, marketing, and distribution. It is a concentration open to students in all genres: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and playwriting.

The Publishing sequence is  also open for  writers who have completed MFA Programs or equivalent graduate study at Augsburg or other institutions.

John Gaterud, editor of Blueroad Press, is publishing mentor for the program. In addition to launching several publications during his career, Gaterud taught journalism and graphic design at Minnesota State University, Mankato, for 20 years. He currently teaches journalism in the undergraduate writing program at Augsburg College as well.

Like the publishing concentration, the other career concentrations available in the Augsburg MFA Program – teaching and translation – are now open for  writers who have completed MFA Programs or equivalent graduate study at Augsburg or other institutions.