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.

We are so excited to announce the release of Sarah Cooper’s Permanent Marker, a Debut Series Co-Winner and the first of our manuscripts selected in 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:

Sarah Cooper’s Permanent Marker is a stunning elegiac sequence for a brother and the family he’s left behind.  But the chapbook is also about living through tremendous pain with grace and generosity, honest anger, and empathy. The poems are elegant in their imagery, evocative in their details, and artistic in their narrative focus.  Sarah Cooper is a superb poet of witness. Denise Duhamel 

Put simply: Sarah Cooper’s Permanent Marker enchants us. In “Grandma’s House,” we find the young Cooper siblings playing Ouija in the basement, casting spells with pebbles and bird feathers, hypnotized by the “oranges and pinks and blues of the jams glistening on shelves.” Such youth can’t be preserved. And though Cooper’s poems make this gut-wrenchingly clear in narrating the loss of that brother from the cellar, all the mystery of youth — that strange potion of great joy and deep sadness — is carried into these poems like a talisman. Like the BB left in the sister’s chest, forgotten, until years later she steps from the shower, runs her wet fingers over the lump, “and remembered your face / in shock as you realized you had shot me.” D. Gilson

Sarah Cooper’s Permanent Marker is about the ways we are marked by loss and all the forms that loss may take. The ephemeral smell of her brother’s cologne. His number and birthday, which she refuses to remove from her phone. Her brother’s baby teeth, which her father keeps in an Aleve bottle, suggesting the links this book traces between memory and pain. This is not a book about PTSD or addiction or brothers and sisters. It is about the collateral damage, the reverberating impact of loss on those left behind. Ed Madden

We have five 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!

Our annual chapbook contests are open this year from January 20th – April 20th, 2020. This will be our 9th year (!) of running an annual contest, and I had to count each year slowly on my hands a few times before I really believed it. We have published 34 titles during that time, six of which are forthcoming in the next few months. Be on the lookout for release announcements for some really amazing books in the next few months.

As in years past, the Vella Contest is open to all; the Debut Series is open only to writers who have yet to publish a book or chapbook (and for our purposes, this also includes if you’ve signed a publication contract but the book is not released yet).You can also go right to our Submittable, which should give you all the information you need once the contests go live on Monday.

This Spring, I’m lucky to have four wonderful interns to help with running the press. I’ll be gradually getting a little about them posted under our Staff tab.

As always, I am so grateful I get to do this. I’m excited to see what amazing work we’ll get to read this year!

We are so excited to announce the release of Kimiko Hahn’s Brittle Process, a prose poetry collection inspired by terminology found in a psychology reference dictionary. You can purchase a copy here, or under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Adam Boretz has described Hahn’s work, in her previous collection, Brain Fever, as “relentless formal experimentation.” Indeed, when I was in college and read Hahn’s poetry for the very first time, it opened my eyes to the different ways a poem could be and what it could do. When Hahn and I met at an event earlier this year and talked at length about our commitment to the chapbook as a serious and important literary vehicle, I knew we had to work together on this project.