Prairie Schooner celebrates 10th anniverary of book prize

Prairie Schooner, UNL's literary journal, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its annual Book Prize Series with an event from 7 to 9 p.m. April 4 at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

The celebration will feature introductory remarks by Hilda Raz and Peggy Shumaker, the founders of the Book Prize Series. Karen Brown and Susan Blackwell Ramsey, the 2011 Book Prize winners will also present readings. The event will include special performances by UNL's ceramics and music composition departments. A reception with complementary wine and dessert will follow the event.

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize is recognized as one of the premier prizes of its kind for both established and emerging writers. Each year, Prairie Schooner accepts submissions of book length manuscripts of poetry and short story collections, offering a $3,000 prize to the winner in each genre, as well as publication through the University of Nebraska Press.

Raz, the editor of Prairie Schooner from 1970 through 2010, turned the literary journal into a financially viable enterprise with widespread distribution of regular quarterly issues. Under her leadership, Prairie Schooner grew in prominence and stature within the literary community. Shumaker, a poet and contributer to Prairie Schooner, worked in conjunction with Raz to establish the Book Prize Series, and has provided generous and necessary financial support. Shumaker and her husband helped fund the prize with start-up money, and continue to donate annually. Under the guidance and support of Raz and Schumaker, the Book Prize Series has become an annual staple with international acclaim and regard, with a longevity to match the journal's 87-year history.

Ramsey is the winner of the 2011 Book Prize in Poetry, for her collection of poems, "A Mind Like This." A Michigan native, she earned an MFA in creative writing at the University of Notre Dame, and resides in Kalamazoo, Mich., where she teaches at the Kalamazoo Institute. Ramsey has been included in Best American Poets.

An interpretation of Brown's stories into a song performed by the UNL music composition department will precede Brown's reading. Brown is the winner of the 2011 Book Prize in Fiction. Her collection of short stories, "Little Sinners and Other Stories," is her second book. Brown has been selected for inclusion in PEN/O. Henry Stories twice, and has also been included in Best American Short Stories. She teaches at the University of South Florida.

For more information, including a list of past winners of the book prize, go to

— Ryan Oberhelman, Prairie Schooner