News, Awards & Press

Congratulations to 2015 BkMk Press winners

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BkMk Press congratulates the 2015 winners of its annual book prizes:

Bonnie Bolling, author of The Red Hijab, winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by H. L. Hix. Finalists were Robert Cooperman, Jaclyn Dwyer, Gary Fincke, Jessica Glover, Laura LeHew, N. Michael Niflis, Nancy Kathleen Pearson, Michael Schmeltzer, and Joseph Stanton. 

Rachel Hall, author of Heirlooms, winner of the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, selected by Marge Piercy. Finalists were Jean Anderson, Kathy Anderson, Morgan McDermott, and Hannah Thurman.

Winning titles will be published in 2016. Guidelines for the 2016 prize competitions from BkMk Press will be posted soon.  

New Book by Robert Day Available Now

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Billion-Dollar Dream, Robert Day’s third story collection, published by BkMk Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City, is now available. Its nine stories set in Kansas and France have appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, New Letters, Numéro Cinq, and elsewhere. 

Day’s characters can be hoarders, filthy, larcenous and adulterous.  But there always emerges a moral point, a discovery or self-discovery, a quick drawing of the breath at what has been revealed or irretrievably lost.  Just as Paul in the story “Billion Dollar Dream” digs an elevator shaft and the narrator of “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” digs graves, author Day goes deep for the dirt and watches the sunrise from the hole.

Day’s previous story collection, Where I Am Now, also from BkMk Press, won the Eric Hoffer Award’s best academic press title as well as a silver ForeWord award. Publishers Weekly called it “a lyrical and discerning love letter to agrarian living,” and Booklist praised its “smart and lovely writing.”

Robert Day’s short fiction has received Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize citations. Among his awards and fellowships are National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, and MacDowell fellowships and a Maryland State Arts Council Award. He is the author of the novel The Last Cattle Drive, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, two novellas, In My Stead and The Four Wheel Drive Quartet, and two collections of short stories, Where I Am Now and Speaking French in Kansas. He has taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, University of Kansas, and Université Bordeaux Montaigne. He is past president of the Associated Writing Programs, and founder and publisher of the Literary House Press at Washington College, where he is an adjunct professor of English literature.

New Letters Nurtures Writers

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On June 10th, Juan Felipe Herrera was named the 21st poet laureate consultant in poetry 2015-16, making him the first Chicano poet to serve as the U.S. poet laureate. New Letters on the Air captured him early in his career and thanks to a Save America's Treasures grant, that program can be heard for free in our Audio Archives. More information available here.

New Letters Weekend Writing Conference features writer Loring Leifer (shown here) and 12 other prominent writers. Event begins Friday, June 26, 2015, at 5:30 p.m.

Friday, June 26, 2015

by Robert Stewart

One of the great traditions in Kansas City for writers and aspiring writers, going back 20 years, is the amazing weekend writing conference sponsored by Kansas City’s international magazine of writing and art, New Letters.  Because New Letters is a University of Missouri-Kansas City publication, it can call upon some of the finest writing coaches in the region, both from UMKC and from the pages of the magazine. 

The 2015 conference will be held this year from Friday evening, June 26, through Sunday, June 28; the keynote address, on Friday evening, will be presented by the award-winning fiction writer Katherine Karlin, a professor of writing at Kansas State University, and a contributing writer to New Letters

We love to have newcomers in the group.  For me, as director of the conference, the best moment is usually on Sunday afternoon when the only sadness people express is the fact that the weekend is almost over.

The conference was founded in 1985 and run by the legendary Kansas City writer and editor James McKinley, who died just this March, one of the finest writing coaches this town has seen.  I took over directorship in 2002, when Jim retired, and have been honored to run the conference with a faculty of such writers as playwright Frank Higgins, screenwriter Mitch Brian, article writer and dazzling personality Loring Leifer, poets Trish Reeves and the incomparable Stanley E. Banks.  Let’s remember fiction writers Catherine Browder and Philip Stevens.

“The best part of this conference,” Stan Banks has said, “is the fun we have while doing the serious work of learning to write.”  Students and faculty love to eat, and the conference comes with good food and fellowship.

Special guests this year will include editor and publisher Greg Michalson and the “star of detective fiction,” Linda Rodriguez. 

The conference offers a full schedule with a variety of lecture topics in writing, including fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting, memoirs, articles, and discussions on ways for writers to market their work. Attendees have the opportunity to receive private workshop and manuscript analysis with a member of the professional faculty, which includes prominent writers, editors and publishers.  Credit and non-credit options are available. To register, call the UMKC Continuing Education office at (816) 235-2736. For more information, see www.newletters.org (Writers Wanted).

 AUTHOR BIO NOTE:  Robert Stewart won a National Magazine Award in 2008 for editorial achievement in the essay category (he was a finalist for that award in 2007) from the American Society of Magazine Editors.  Poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Miramar, Stand, Notre Dame Review, Literary Review and other magazines.  Books include The Narrow Gate: Writing, Art & Values (essays, Serving House Books, 2014), Outside Language: Essays (Helicon Nine Editions, a finalist in the PEN Center USA Literary Awards for 2004; and winner of the 2004 Thorpe Menn Award), Plumbers (poems, BkMk Press), and others.  He is editor of New Letters magazine, BkMk Press, and New Letters on the Air, a nationally syndicated literary radio program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

Angela Elam Interviews Writers During Homecoming Trip to Georgia

Monday, April 20, 2015

Angela Elam, the host of New Letters on the Air, is returning to where she got her start in radio—WUGA, 91.7 FM—to interview writers, April 20-25, 2015. Events include a live interview with Georgia Poet Laureate Judson Mitcham and studio recordings with Gary Ferguson and Philip Lee Williams. Full details available here.

BkMk Press & New Letters at AWP

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We're headed to AWP 2015 and we've got some great events lined up, including author signings, book discussions, and a literary showdown. View a full list of events here, and don't forget to come visit us at the bookfair, booth #1608.

IN MEMORIAM James McKinley

Saturday, April 4, 2015

James McKinley, editor of New Letters (1985-2002) and BkMk Press (1995-2002) passed away on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at age 79.  Family, friends, and colleagues from New Letters and BkMk Press will gather to pay tribute to a grand fellow, friend, writer, and brilliant editor, at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, KCMO. 

Read James McKinley’s memoir-essay from a recent New Letters. 

Time: 3:00 p.m. Service at 3:30 p.m. 

Location: Kansas City, Mo., 3607 Pennsylvania Ave.

Contact: (816) 235-1168 New Letters 

 

Listen to past New Letters on the Air interviews with James McKinley, from 1977 and 1981, in our Audio Archives.

Jazz at Diastole, Tues., Nov. 11, 2014, 2:30--a benefit

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Benefit for UMKC’s New Letters Magazine, BkMk Press Books, New Letters on the Air & The Retirees Association

Jazz at Diastole: 2:30 p.m., Tues., Nov. 11, 2014, at Diastole Scholars Center, 2501 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo.

Jazz performances by: David Basse, Bob Bowman (leader), Peter Schlamb, Steve Lambert. Words by Dan “All-Cats-Turn-Gray” Jaffe.

The Retirees Association of UMKC joins with great Kansas City jazz performers—national names in music—and UMKC’s international literary magazine, press, and radio series.  Refreshments.

Students $5 and others $10 at the door.  No rsvp needed.  For information: (816) 235-1168 or newletters@umkc.edu

Join us.  Afternoon Time Is The Right Time. 

Directions:  http://www.diastole.org/directions-and-parking/

An Exhibition of Art From New Letters

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Artist Carol Zastoupil, featured artist in the winter 2014 edition of New Letters, will present a solo exhibition at Steeple of Light Art Gallery, Detials here. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

by Robert Stewart

I commemorate, here, a great man and a great friend, Bill Hickok, who died in Los Angeles on Monday, July 21, 2014.  Bill was, indeed, cousin to the famous Wild Bill, but our Bill worked in business most of his life and ran a foundation to support the arts, the N. W. Dible Foundation.  In 1977, he co-founded, with his wife, the poet Gloria Vando, the community-based literary organization The Writers Place, in midtown Kansas City, which thrives today due much to Bill’s philanthropy. 

Bill Hickok’s tough business acumen formed a counterbalance to his playful intelligence.  He began writing humor several years ago, “as a defense,” he would say, “against his children’s tyranny.” His articles have appeared widely in newspapers and literary magazines across the country.   

Bill’s book of poems, The Woman Who Shot Me, came out from Whirlybird Press in 2011.  “This late-life collection,” writes California Poet Laureate Al Young, “shines like a golden retriever.”  If you knew Bill, that was high praise. 

“No one writes like Bill Hickok. No one,” writes the estimable Jo McDougall.  “Read him: you’ll be enriched and wounded.”   

In one recent poem, Bill wrote, “I am thinking without mind.  I cry without tears.”  Bill had no use for wasted words or wasted time. 

Many years ago, I saw this approach in action at a reading given by one of this country’s most famous poets, held at the Kansas City Art Institute.  The lesson I learned, then, came not from the visiting poet but from someone in the audience.  The room was packed, and I was standing along a side wall, suffering from what had to be the most tedious and dull poetry reading ever to come to Kansas City.  I won’t mention the famous poet.  About half way through, I noticed something move behind me, at floor level.  There was a man in a suit, crawling on his hands and knees.  This turned out to be more interesting than the reading, so I watched, as the man crawled along the floor behind the legs of the audience and out the back door.  Guess who.

I have always thought that to be the single greatest act of literary criticism I have ever witnessed.  Bill wrote, and held us all, to his own high standard: Don’t be dull. 

Bill Hickok was an ornithologist, wildlife photographer, environmentalist, founder of the Kansas Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, a founder of Kansas City’s first hospice; he supported Midwest Poets Series and served as chair and board member for 10 years of Johnson County Parks and Recreation.  In recent years he served on the board of Beyond Baroque, a literary center in Venice, Calif. 

In the opening year of The Writers Place, special guest William Burroughs, who then lived in Lawrence, Kansas, about 30 miles away, called Bill to say he refused to travel on the icy roads to appear that day.  Bill paced a bit and called Burroughs back.  “Look out your front door in half an hour,” I heard Bill say.  “You will see a limo that will take you safely here and safely home.”  Burroughs complied, and Bill said to me, later, with a glass of red in his hand, “Burroughs was going to be here.  I was going to see to it.”  Bill was like that, tough, no nonsense, sweet, generous, and funny.

No words such as these can retrieve that life, but take my word:  He raised us all in spirit and joy. 

 

Christian Barter on New Letters on the Air

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hear Christian Barter interviewed by Angela Elam on New Letters on the Air at http://www.newletters.org/on-the-air/christian-barter

Barter's book In Someone Else's House won the BkMk Press Ciardi Prize for Poetry. 

Lauren Cobb wins another medal

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Just a moment to brag about Lauren Cobb winning the silver for her Boulevard Women! We're reprinting so you can have your own copy.
https://indiefab.forewordreviews.com/books/boulevard-women/

BkMk's Lauren Cobb at Fallbrook Library

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

July 8, 2014 Lauren Cobb Reading
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Fallbrook Library, 124 S Mission, Fallbrook, CA
760-731-4650

Reading preceded by open mic for original poetry and prose

Lauren Cobb, Professor of English at Bemidji State University, Minnesota, will be reading from and discussing her new collection of linked short stories, Boulevard Women. Winner of the 2012 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, the collection delves into the lives of three women, born in three distinct generations and living as neighbors in Athens, Georgia.

Boulevard Women will be available for sale and signing by the author.

For more information, contact K-B Gressitt at kbgressitt@gmail.com or 760-522-1064.


Email: director@millbrooklibrary.org 

Bill Bauer on New Letters on the Air

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hear Bill Bauer and HC Palmer on New Letters on the Air's "A Call to Words" event at  http://www.newletters.org/on-the-air/Call-to-Words.

Maine Literary Award goes to Christian Barter's poetry book, In Someone Else's House

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BkMk congratulates poet Christian Barter.  The Maine Literary Awards Poetry award for 2014 went to Christian Barter's poetry book, In Someone Else's House, published by BkMk Press

The Maine Literary Awards is an annual competition sponsored and coordinated by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

 

2014 BkMk Book Publishing Contest Judging Begins

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BkMk's 2014 book publishing contest deadline has passed.  Thank you for your entries.  And good luck to the judges, who will have many fine manuscripts to consider.  Winners will be announced in August, 2014. 

If you missed this year's deadline, we encourage you to prepare your book for entry into the 2015 contest--deadline January 15, 2015. 

Greetings from New Letters on the Air

Monday, January 13, 2014

As we embark on a new year, New Letters on the Air takes a moment to both reflect on 2013 highlights, and to wish everyone continued happiness, good fortune, and good reading in the new year.

Make your new year's resolution to follow us on your favorite social media site. Click here to find links to our pages.

Submit to BkMk Book Publication Contest Online Now!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Beginning in early December 2013 BkMk Press will accept online submissiions for the John Ciardi Poetry Prize and the G.S. Sharat Chandra Short Fiction Prize.  Please visit our contest guidelines for access to this new option for entering our book publication prizes. 

New Letters on the Air Wins the 2013 Clarion Awards

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Letters on the Air wins the 2013 Clarion Award for the best Regular Talk or Interview Program. The show was selected based on the submission of five programs. Read the full press release here. Downloads of the award winning programs are available through our audio archives or visit our shop page to order the Clarion Awards Selection CD Special.

BkMk Announces Prize Winners for 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BkMk Press congratulates Evan Morgan Williams and Jane Hoogestraat, 2013 winners our book prizes.
Williams' manuscript was selected by Al Young as the 2013 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize winner.
Luis J. Rodriguez selected Hoogestraat's collection of poetry for the 2013 John Ciardi Prize. 

Thanks to all who submitted work to the contest. We hope you will consider sending manuscriipts for the 2014 competition

Garbage Night at the Opera reviewed on Newpages.com

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fioravanti’s women deliver bouts of devastating honesty that elevate the characters emotionally.—Elizabeth O’Brien, Newpages.com
http://www.newpages.com/bookreviews/2013-08-01/#Garbage-Night-Opera-by-Valerie-Fioravanti

Stephanie Powell Watts at Chautauqua

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Read about Stephanie Powell Watts' presentation at Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle.  From The Chautauquan Daily:  Stephanie Powell Watts presents the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection at 3:30 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy.

 

Silver Medal for Robert Day Short Story Collection

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Robert Day’s Where I Am Now won a silver medal in ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards in short stories. 

Interview with Valzhyna Mort included in Poetry Daily

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Closer to the Water: An Interview with Valzhyna Mort" which was published in the Winter 2013 issue of New Letters was included in the  most recent Poetry DailyVisit the On The Air page to hear audio of this interview, conducted by New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

Fresh Review for Christian Barter's new book, In Someone Else's House

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Christian Barter's book of poems, In Someone Else’s House was reviewed by Denise Low in the Kansas City Star Sunday

BkMk's We Are Taking Only What We Need on O's 2013 Summer Reading List

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stephanie Powell Watts' BkMk Press book, We Are Taking Only What We Need, has made O's 2013 summr reading list.  Yet another wise recommendation to read this collection. 

Kansas City Literary Events

Donohoe, Peterson, Harty & Schier-Akmala

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Overland Park, Kan.

News

Winners Announced: New Letters Literary Awards

New Letters is pleased to announce the 2018 winners of the $2,500 Conger Beasley Jr. Prize for Nonfiction, the $1,500 New Letters Prize for Fiction, and the $1,500 Prize for Poetry. See the winners, judges, and finalists here.

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Clarion Awards Selection CD Special

Jamaica KincaidJim ShepardGloria Vando & Anika ParisLuis Alberto Urrea, and Alex George, normally $7.99 per episode, this cd collection comes with over $15.00 in savings. Downloads of these programs have been reduced and are available through our archives.