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Lit Mag Spotlight: Prairie Schooner

Meet Prairie Schooner, an awesome lit mag that has been publishing since 1926! In addition to a fabulous print edition, Prairie Schooner also has Web-only features, a fancy new website, and a super cool podcast, Air Schooner.

Check out this great journal to read the best fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews being published today by beginning, mid-career, and established writers.

CONTEST! Leave a comment by May 17 to enter to win a free Prairie Schooner T-shirt! This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Toribio, our winner. Thank you to all who participated!

1.        Give us the lowdown on your journal’s mission.

Called by Bill Henderson, editor of the Pushcart Prize anthology, “a granddaddy of them all,” Prairie Schooner has been around for more than 85 years. We publish the best stories, poems, essays, and book reviews by established and up-and-coming writers. Our new Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes is excited by unique writing from American and international authors of all aesthetics.

2.       Describe your ideal submission in 15 words or less.

It makes us jump up, grab the nearest person, and shout, “You’ve gotta read this!”

3.       Tell us about a piece you recently published that got the staff really excited. Why did you love it? Why did it strike a chord? Can readers find it online?

In our Winter 2011 Special Irish Issue, we published a poem by Irish author Patrick Toland called “How to Eat a Quince.” The few staff members who read it before it was published knew it was wonderful, but once it was published we received so many compliments! Our senior readers voted that Toland should receive one of our annual awards; our Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes nominated the poem for a Pushcart Prize; and months later at an Irish conference a writer approached us to gush about the poem. Read it here!

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4.       Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turn-off that you encounter (in terms of craft)?

Writing that is pretentious and self-congratulatory.

5.       What’s the most common oversight (in terms of submission guidelines)?

Some writers simultaneously submit (which we discourage) and fail to notify us when a piece is taken elsewhere; it’s always disappointing to let go of a story, poem, essay, or review that we love.

6.       Where can readers find your submission guidelines?

You can find them here.

7.         Why is your journal awesome?

Let us count the ways! Our new Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes is always brainstorming how to make Prairie Schooner even more terrific. This January, we launched a new website and introduced a podcast series called Air Schooner (check it out on iTunes!), a quirky and informative poetry column called Poetry News in Review, and Fusion, online collaborations with other journals based on themes (work, food, home, etc.) that feature archived poetry from both journals as well as visual art from local artists.

Starting with our Winter 2011 Irish issue, each winter issue of Prairie Schooner will be internationally themed; Sherman Alexie will guest-edit our Winter 2012 Native American issue. Next year at AWP 2013 we’ll debut an app for smart phones, and starting with our Summer 2012 issue, our print journal will be available to read on Kindle! This summer is also exciting because it marks our first creative nonfiction essay contest; submissions open for this May 2 and close August 31. All of these initiatives speak back to the energy and diversity of Prairie Schooner.

Check out Prairie Schooner on Facebook and Twitter (@TheSchooner)!


Writer QuestionsLeave a comment by May 17 and enter to win a free T-shirt from Prairie Schooner.

19 Responses to Lit Mag Spotlight: Prairie Schooner

  1. Great magazine, catchy name, and quality articles that editors realize can be written by writers of all skill levels. What more could you ask for ?
    A tee shirt maybe…………….?
    Keep up the excellent work!

  2. I’ve looked around the website and it looks like a great magazine. I hope to subscribe to it soon.

  3. I didn’t know they launched a podcast! This is why I like “liking” lit mag pages on facebook. It’s the laziest way to keep up on news like this.

  4. I love stories like this! So nice to hear, that Prairie Schooner keeps on keepin’ on, especially in this day and age. Sorry to say I wasn’t familiar with this lit mag, but I will most definitely check it out. Thank you!

  5. “How to Eat a Quince” is a terrific poem. Great choice for publication and prize nomination. I appreciate the chance of getting a good look at an example of the Prairie Schooner standard.

  6. Love the looks of Prairie Schooner. I’ve ordered a sample and will most likely subscribe. Thanks for the introduction.

  7. I’m working on that jump-up-and-grab-the-nearest-person story right now–I hope! Thanks for entering me into the t-shirt raffle.

  8. 1) Creative non-fiction contest will be on top of my list.
    2) Living in LA, people from all around the world, from exotic cultures will see me wearing this shirt around town.
    3) The podcast is a fantastic idea!!!

  9. I love free shirts, especially when they’re from somewhere this awesome! Sign me up!

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