We are so excited to announce the release of Juliana Chang’s Inheritance, a Vella Chapbook Co-Winner, and the first of six titles to be released from our lineup selected from our 2020 contests. The book may be ordered here or under the Books menu, in case you’re looking for some other new reads to pick up.

Juliana Chang’s Inheritance tells a deeply moving tale of immigration, love, and family, in poems taut with a longing that spans oceans, and decades, and generations. “Dear god,” Chang’s speaker pleads at one point, “give us a new story,” and in these poems, lucky for us, she has written exactly that. This is a soulful, serious debut.

           —Patrick Phillips, author of Elegy for a Broken Machine

This admirable debut volume of poems speaks to the many complex legacies of the immigrant psyche: those of language, of longing, of unspoken traumas and unlikely joys. These vivid tableaus, ranging from girlhood to womanhood, reveal a young writer of great empathy and discernment, and invite us to join in the redemptive act of wonderment. 

 —Chang-rae Lee, author of Native Speaker

We have another two titles that are most of the way through production, so keep an eye out for more books coming soon!

Our plans for 2021

February 1, 2021

2020 was a long year, and we’re still trying to catch up. There have been ongoing backlogs for virtually every part of the publishing process (reading manuscripts, coordinating with new authors, completing pre-press layout, print vendor turnaround, order fulfillment…). We had four wonderful interns last year, and two interns the year before; this year, because of COVID, we have none. And while this note uses “we” a lot, PN is just one person — and I have had a number of changes in my professional and personal life in the last year that have changed what I am able to juggle.

We regret that will we not be taking manuscripts this cycle for all of these reasons. We have six amazing titles coming out over the course of 2021, and we are still very much an active press! But, given the above, it seemed irresponsible to reopen and likely receive 400+ submissions, commit to reading each one carefully (often more than once), and usher 4-6 new titles through production. The folks who send us work often don’t find out if their manuscript has been selected until almost November — and if they submitted in January, that is a long time to wait. One of our recent titles took nearly a year and half from the time we accepted it to when it was released. I am not OK with any of that — and those are the outcomes with interns.

I take a lot of pride and put a lot of care into these books, because writers deserve that. We’ve been going strong for ten years, continue to get more manuscripts each year, and have greatly increased the number of titles we publish. By the end of the year, we’ll have published 40 titles. However, we’re getting to a point where that growth is unsustainable. And I don’t want to just keep pressing on to see what the breaking point is. I am hopeful that, by having this time to properly care for the six titles we’re publishing this year and giving them a timely release, it will give us a chance to clear off the to-do list and start fresh in 2022 with a more manageable, scaled-back operation. Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to sharing our next new title with you soon!

We are so excited to announce the release of Sonya Vatomsky’s And The Whale, a Vella Chapbook Co-Winner, and the sixth and final book to be released from our lineup selected from our 2019 contests. The book may be ordered here or under the Books menu, in case you’re looking for some other new reads to pick up.

This collection received the following praise:

“A lyrical, haunted shipwreck of a book you won’t soon forget.”

— amanda lovelace, bestselling author of the princess saves herself in this one

 “Vatomsky is a poet with history, which is to say a poet with a Russian soul that never rests. Here, the soul is haunted and haunting, is pouring tea into your cup until the whole thing spills over and burns. The soul in these poems isn’t interested in pain but the shadow of pain, the mark of it; the edges of a burn and the dregs of tea leaves, what each one confirms about time. If it’s true that what’s hysterical is historical, then what Vatomsky offers us is a universe where madness is fleshed out and relieved of flesh. Here, the body is a palimpsest and gender is a veil, the kind you wear in mourning, the kind that hangs between this life and everything else.”

— Gala Mukomolova, author of Without Protection

We are looking forward to turning to our attention to our 2020 manuscripts. As we all (globally) wrap up an exhausting, painful, almost-impossible year, I am wishing for you that these last few weeks of it are kind and restful and healthy. See you in 2021.

After lots and lots of reading and deliberation, we are overjoyed to announce this year’s winners!

Juliana Chang.: Inheritance
Jason B. Crawford: Twerkable Moments
Sarah Nichols:
Press Play for Heartbreak
Marc Sheehan: The Civil War War

Additionally, we name 10% of our authors finalists. This year, out of over 210 entries, these are the 21 manuscripts we chose:

Khadija Anderson: Not My Hijab
Lisa Beans: And Just Like That
Gina Marie Bernard: Dauntless
Meriweather Clarke: Extended Voicemail to a Senator
Sarah Eddy: Ativan Poems
Ashley Evans: black has every right to be angry
Tyler Friend: ? Future ?
John Jodzio: Cornhole or Bags
Alexander Joseph: breakfast & dinner
Anna Leahy: What Happened Was:
Lisa Lopez Smith: Revel ations
Freesia McKee: We Finally Managed to Shut Down the Shining of the Moon: Letters to June Jordan
Charlene Moskal: Leavings from my Table
Sujash Purna: Epidemic of Nostalgia
Kevin Risner: Do Us a Favor
Esteban Rodriguez: Herencia
Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith: Curfew Dogs
Tina Schumann: Epistolarium. Letters to the Usual Suspects
Lanie Stabile: Armed with a Lampshade
Scott Wilson: The Competitive Cyclists Guide to Mycology
Iona Winter: Earth Bones

Thank you to every single person who took the leap to send us their work. (And extra thanks to those who have been waiting to hear these results since submitting their work back in January!)

We have one final title from 2019 we’re working to wrap up, as well as getting all the contest entry book orders shipped out! We hope everyone is healthy and well.

After lots and lots of reading and deliberation, we are overjoyed to announce this year’s winners!

Sean Cho A.: Not Bilingual
Ja’net Danielo: The Song of Our Disappearing
Christen Kauffman:
Notes to a Mother God

Additionally, we name 10% of our authors finalists. This year, out of over 210 entries, these are the 21 manuscripts we chose:

Allison Albino: My Mother’s Prufrock
José A. Alcántara: God and Country
Brandon Alexander: Divinations
Yvonne Amey: The Best Tragedy We Could
Lisa Beans: And Just Like That
Juliana Chang: Inheritance
Megan Chiusaroli: Fleeting Signs of Life
Dan Dorman: Holy Book Centos
PB Johnson: Kudzu Stories
Deanna Kern Ludwin: Last Hope Province
Alexander Luft: Heirlooms: Stories
Adam McGee: My Father Pretends to Be a Ghost
Zackary Medlin: A Boy’s Guide to Decay
Jessica Morey-Collins: Power Plays
Pattie Palmer-Baker: The Color of Goodbye
William Quist: Shape of a Hole
Elena Ramirez-Gorski: La psicosis del repatriado
Danny Rivera: Ancestral Throat
Anna Sandy-Elrod: Sibyl With Frenzied Mouth
Sarah Stockton: The Scarecrow of My Former Self
Liam Strong: Ellipsis of Collision

Thank you to every single person who took the leap to send us their work. (And extra thanks to those who have been waiting to hear these results since submitting their work back in January!)

We have our Vella chapbooks to finish up reading and reviewing — as well as one final title from 2019 we’re working to wrap up! So, we hope to have some more big announcements coming soon!

We are so excited to announce the release of Amanda Hope’s The Museum of Resentments, a Debut Series Co-Winner and the fifth book to be released from our lineup selected from our 2019 contests. The book may be ordered here or under the Books menu, in case you’re looking for some other new reads to pick up.

This collection received the following praise:

“‘I am good at affliction,’ writes Amanda Hope, ‘and sky.’ This is true. The poems in The Museum of Resentments offer lament and potent imagery in surprising and insightful pairings. Hope’s portraits of domestic disintegration and its aftermath are sometimes confrontational, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes tender, sometimes stark, and always stylish and compelling.”
—Natalie Shapero”
“Amanda Hope writes, ‘Listen: I am going to hide myself in this poem/ in the heart of it, and maybe someone (you) / will find me’ which best describes her notable debut collection. Hope is a master of metaphor and simile which she employs to create a meta-experience for the reader and meanwhile she’s ‘ignoring for the sake of metaphor…’. Yes, she is hiding behind her own truth-spinning which is nothing short of human. I encourage you to find her!”
We have one last title to be release this season, and are looking forward to naming the finalists and winners of the 2020 contests!

As the summer winds down and we get deeper into August, some anxiously anticipate their first pumpkin spice latte or breaking our their sweaters. There are also a number of writers who are anxiously anticipating our 2020 contest results.

Sadly, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for these, as we are seriously behind schedule.

Typically, we shift all of our focus more towards manuscript reading once the previous year’s titles have been released. We still have two of those to wrap up — although they both seem very close! We are reading submissions, but substantially slower than we normally would be able to. Also, you would think that the last thing COVID-19 would impact is a small press — and you’d probably be right, if I wasn’t a teacher. The vast majority of my summer has been consumed with course design, adaptation, reinvention, coming up with back-up plans, and trying to keep on top of any changes that the university announces. In general, what is usually already a pretty intensive preparation for Fall has turned into something extremely fraught and many times more exhausting (and time consuming) than it has ever been before. This is in addition to just having a very difficult year personally with a lot of challenges with my health and the health of my family. (Also, my primary editing computer quit on me at the end of June. Is Mercury just, like, permanently stuck in retrograde now? Can someone look into this, please?)

In the messages I’ve received asking about the contest status, I’ve been estimating sometime in October. I am hopeful that this is possible. If anything changes in these unpredictable circumstances, I’ll be sure to keep folks in the loop. I’m a writer, and know how hard it is to wait for these things.

Thank you, as always, for your patience and your support of Paper Nautilus. Please know that, even in stressful times like these, I never lose sight of how lucky I am to get to do this.

We are so excited to announce the release of Chase Burke’s Lecture, a Debut Series Co-Winner and the fourth book to be released from our lineup selected from our 2019 contests. The book may be ordered here or under the Books menu, in case you’re looking for some other new reads to pick up.

This collection received the following praise:

“The characters in Chase Burke’s Lecture are aspirants and schemers, searching our omnipresent corporations and pop culture for whatever cracks might appear, anywhere one might escape into something more successful, heartfelt, or ultimately authentic. What a lucky journey to join in on, carried along in Burke’s smart and witty prose.”
Matt Bell, author of Scrapper
“Burke’s Lecture expects us to pay attention—whether in museums and libraries or in our own homes and workplaces—and to be receptive to the gift of human connection however it may appear. Novel pages turned into airplanes for passersby to find and feel ‘affected in some way,’ a letter written on a submarine ‘to a good friend,’ a shared cigarette with a co-worker after a serious disaster, a person waiting for their ‘brother to come home.’ So read these stories, this Lecture, and take notes: otherwise, like one tourist pleading desperately with our president, we are doomed to exist here having ‘never felt so lonely.’”
Molly Gaudry, author of We Take Me Apart and Desire: A Haunting
“The irrepressible Chase Burke has delivered this irresistible book, Lecture, a baker’s dozen of nattily disheveled short short fictions. I think of them as lithesome literary GIFs, frenetic yet graceful, starring a bevy of Buster Keatonion characters, dolled up in stoic animated deadpan as whole cabinets of sentient cookware and cutlery as well as showrooms of kitchen sinks swirl around Escheresque tableaus of pensive rumination—emphatic, empathetic, bemused, curious circumventions, undeniably understated. Chase chases heroically the chaotic chaos just under the placid surface of exact and exacting attention. Each and every static kinetic piece is another delicate pas de deux with locomotive, ready, set, stop and going all the way, while you, dear reader, are all the time hanging on, effortlessly and eagerly, to your slightly too small pork pie hat.”
Michael Martone, author of The Moon Over Wapakoneta and Brooding
We have two more titles to be released this season, and are looking forward to announcing them, as well as spending more time with the 400+ manuscripts we received for our 2020 contests.

We are so excited to announce the release of Conor McNamara’s When I Think of the Randolph Mountains, a Debut Series Co-Winner and the third book in our lineup selected from 2019’s contests to be released. The book may be ordered here, or under the Books menu, in case you’re looking for some other new reads to pick up.

This collection received the following praise:

Conor McNamara has written a powerful portrait of West Virginia, mountain roads, pipeline work, cold nights, loss and enduring hope. Beautiful and understated, When I Think of the Randolph Mountains is a masterful collection of stories that stay with you long into the night.

Vincent Chu, author of Like a Champion

 

In aching bursts of spare, understated prose, Conor McNamara captures the loneliness of working as a pipeliner in wintry West Virginia. When I Think of the Randolph Mountains is at once a moving portrait of a young man—heartsick, far from home, deep in debt—and a searing look at the brutal emotional and physical toll that simply staying out of poverty takes on American workers. Though rooted in the particulars of small towns like Burnsville and Buckhannon, the story taps powerfully into the anxiety of placelessness, its narrator in every sense disoriented, always at risk of losing traction. Yet he never misses an opportunity to name the people he meets as he follows the pipeline—Ms. Amanda, the Exxon station clerk; Yogi, owner of the Motel 79; Mike Workman, a land inspector from the gas company—and we sense that no matter where the work takes him next, his alertness to human connection will come with him.

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Madeleine is Sleeping and Ms. Hempel Chronicles

Conor McNamara is out there at work. He’s Studs Terkel and he’s the guy Studs Terkel is asking what the job is really like. He’s a poet and this is his American dream with a bloody nose. Come in close. He wants to tell you how to pass your drug test, how to swing a machete, how to be in love with the dirt and the grime and the rain and the unexpected sunshine bursting out from behind the dark clouds hanging over the piece of shit roadside motel that is tonight’s temporary home sweet home.

We have three more titles to be released this season, and are looking forward to announcing them, as well as spending more time with the 400+ manuscripts we received for our 2020 contests.

We are so excited to announce the release of Maya Salameh’s rooh, a Vella Chapbook Co-Winner and the second book in our lineup selected from 2019’s contests to be released. The book may be ordered here, or under the Books menu, in case you’re looking for some other new reads to pick up.

These poems received the following praise:

“Maya Salameh’s rooh deftly works the familiar into the defamiliarized, in poems crackling with exuberant fluency. I read these poems and language feels boundless, looking feels boundless, form feels boundless. I read these poems and feel the possibilities of poetry stretching, evolving, breaking open to make room for the true refreshment that is Maya Salameh’s voice—its mischief, its enormous eyes.”
Safia Elhillo

We have four more titles that my interns and I are preparing for production, and we can’t wait to have them ready for the world.

And if you have a manuscript of your own, keep in mind that we’re open for chapbook submissions in poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, and anything in between until April 20th. We know this is a challenging time for almost everyone — especially emotionally, but also financially for a lot of folks. If you need a submission fee waiver, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Wishing everyone wellness and comfort.