MSUM learning press celebrates annual book release

by Rachel Hieserich

New Rivers Press is hosting a book reading and other events to celebrate its annual Fall Book Release Oct. 22 – 24.

“[New Rivers Press] is a nonprofit literary learning press through MSUM, so [we] do literary fiction,” said Nayt Rundquist, managing editor of the press. “It’s a learning press, so we have students, and we get them ready for the publishing world.”

Rundquist said the publishing house hosts the Many Voices Project contest annually. Approximately 700 book-length manuscripts of prose and poetry are submitted, and 10 to 12 of those are sent to a finalist judge. From those manuscripts, one of each category is published. Tracy Robert’s “Flaschcards and the Curse of Ambrosia” and Julie Gard’s “Home Studies” are last year’s winners being released this fall.

New Rivers Press also hosts the American Fiction contest. The short story contest is comprised of mostly American writers, but Rundquist said some manuscripts have come in from Canada and Japan.

“[It’s] open to anyone who can write in English,” Rundquist said.

Twenty finalists’ manuscripts are sent to a finalist judge. Although all the finalists’ stories are published, three are chosen to receive a monetary prize.

“Half the books [published by NRP] come from contests, and half come from general submissions or runners-up,” Rundquist said. “Every year, we publish an MVP and American Fiction.”

Daniel Gabriel’s “Wrestling with Angels” is being released this fall alongside the two MVP winners and the American Fiction collection. The book was a runner-up in a past competition, but New Rivers Press editors enjoyed it so much they decided to publish it.

“All the books being released have been student-edited,” said Rundquist. “Student editors will get one of the book-length manuscripts. They check for consistency, readability and facts, and they work with the author to maintain intention.”

Kyle Courteau and Sarah Bosak are taking the practicum in publishing this fall and are volunteering at the book release. They encourage everyone to attend.

“[You] actually get to interact with the authors, get their signatures [and] buy their books,” Bosak said.

Courteau attended a book release a semester before enrolling in the publishing courses. He said it inspired him.

“[It] kicked me more in the right direction,” Courteau said. “At that point [I] didn’t have more ideas than just writing. It was a good thing.”

The events start with a reading by the two MVP winners and Daniel Gabriel on Thursday at 8 p.m. in CMU 101.

They read again on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Spirit Room on Broadway in Fargo. Nancy Algaard-Hanson, an author from the Fargo-Moorhead area, will read from her piece included in “American Fiction.” Hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction will also be event features.

On Saturday, senior editor and co-director of New Rivers Press, Al Davis, will host a talk with two prose authors about novel writing. That event is at 10 a.m. at the Fargo Public Library. At noon, the two MVP winners will give another reading at the Red River Market.

“[I] hope people can show up,” Rundquist said. “They’re all stellar authors.”

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