Reception celebrates 13th edition of “American Fiction”

By Kristin Miller

Wine, cheese, and good literature are all hallmarks of a successful book launch party, and are all on the agenda for an upcoming event to be hosted by New Rivers Press.
On Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. will see a reception and author reading for “American Fiction: Volume 13” at the Rourke Art Gallery in Moorhead.
Suzzanne Kelley, managing editor for New Rivers Press, called the event a “mini-launch,” with the book’s official debut forthcoming this April at the annual conference for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, taking place this year in Minneapolis.
“American Fiction” features 20 short stories from new and emerging authors, and covers a wide range of experience, culture, and subject matter.
“They all have some American connection,” Kelley said, adding that during her time at the press she has seen submitted work from countries including Canada, New Zealand, Korea, and Sweden.
The reception will include readings by at least three of the book’s featured authors, all hailing from Minnesota. The artistic connection to the state also led some financial support for costs of hosting the event.
The Lake Region Arts Council, which works to support arts in west-central Minnesota, has designated a grant to cover the cost of reserving the space at the Rourke, along with providing an honorarium for the visiting writers.
“They feel very strongly about supporting the artist, in this case literary artists,” Kelley said. “They want to support events in Minnesota.”
These literary artists include Terry Ruud, Beth Mayer and John Zdrazil, whose “Winter Burial” was selected as the first place piece for the collection. Zdrazil also took home the $1000 prize awarded to the winning author for each volume.
Though the stories chosen for publication were selected by an expert judge and compiled by a general editor for the collection, much of the work preparing the volume fell to students in Kelley’s certificate in publishing program. Additionally, students in the graphic design program were responsible for laying out the pages and designing a cover. The process was a learning opportunity for all involved, with students taking away valuable experience and portfolio work to help them land jobs after graduation.
The following day, Oct. 31, New Rivers Press will be hosting the second part of the event, titled “Publish Your Shorts!,” at the Moorhead Public Library. The event is geared to help writers learn a few tips for when it comes to the sometimes difficult process of getting their works published.
“The authors will talk about the process of writing short stories and the process of publishing,” Kelley said, adding that she will also be speaking on the different avenues New Rivers Press presents for new and emerging authors to see their works published.
The workshop is limited to 20 people, so she encourages interested participants to reserve a spot.
Kelley hopes to see a good turnout for both events.
“We would love for people to come and see what the writers are doing, take a look and see what the students are doing, come and celebrate with us,” she said.
Those interested in attending can contact Kelley at The workshop and reception are both free to attend.

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