New Rivers Press emerged from a drafty Massachusetts barn in winter 1968. Intent on publishing work by new and emerging poets, founder C. W. Truesdale labored for weeks over an old Chandler & Price letterpress. Despite a case of lead poisoning, he published 350 copies of Margaret Randall's collection, So Many Rooms Has a House But One Roof.
Over 320 books later, New Rivers, a non-profit press based since 2001 at Minnesota State University Moorhead, has remained true to Bill's original goal, to publish the best new literature (poetry and prose) from new and emerging writers in the Midwest. It has also broadened its mission through a series of innovative regional and national initiatives to offer encouragement, feedback, publication, and promotion to new, emerging and established writers not only from the Midwest, but also from the many culturally diverse Americas and from the international fraternity of writers.
Authors can be collaborators and partners at New Rivers. They range in age from 20 to 89. They include a silversmith, a carpenter, a geneticist, a monk, a treetrimmer, and a rock musician. They hail from cities such as Christchurch, Honolulu, New Orleans, New York City, Northfield (Minnesota), and Prague.
Charles Baxter, one of the first authors with New Rivers, calls the press "the hidden backbone of the American literary tradition." Continuing this tradition, in 1981 New Rivers began to sponsor the MVP competition. It is one of the oldest literary competitions in the United States, bringing recognition and attention to emerging writers.
The press has published many authors, like Charles Baxter, who have gone on to achieve national status. The acclaimed MVP Project, supported by the Jerome Foundation, has produced over 110 books by new and emerging writers. The press also publishes an acclaimed series of anthologies featuring work in all genres about diverse cultures in the United States. The most recent anthology is To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from pre-Territorial Days to the Present, edited by Joyce Sutphen, Thom Tammaro, and Connie Wanek (2006).
NRP is the current home of American Fiction, an annual anthology of stories chosen through a national competition. Last published in 2000 (Volume Ten), the anthology was chosen in 1998 by Writers' Digest as one of the top fifteen places in the United States to publish short fiction. We have chosen three editors (Bayard Godsave, Bruce Pratt, and Kristen Tsetsi) to revive the anthology in the near future. Watch for announcements.
During our submission period, we consider both specialized literary manuscripts and general work from new, emerging and established writers. If you are an author or prospective editor, read our submission guidelines
New Rivers Press was founded in New York state and for the past twenty-five years (since 1978) has been located in Minnesota, until 2001 in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and now at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). Consortium, the premier distributor for literary small presses in the United States, distributes our books nationally to booksellers and libraries. Individuals may purchase titles through bookstores or directly from New Rivers Press.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE PRESS
1968 New Rivers Press is established in New York by C. W. Truesdale, to publish new and emerging poets. Later, fiction and nonfiction are added.
1978 New Rivers moves to a location on Selby Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota.
1981 The Minnesota Voices Project, a literary competition for unpublished and newly emerging writers, is established.
1982 New Rivers Press becomes the first book publisher to obtain 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
1984 The Many Minnnesotas Project, a series of writing from ethnic groups in Minnesota is established. In addition, New Rivers Abroad becomes the series title for translations of literary writing from outside the United States.
1989 New Rivers Press moves to the Ford Centre in Minneapolis. A managing editor is hired who contributes to grant writing. This is New Rivers Press’s second employee. Two years later, a third employee is added.
1996 Consortium Books Sales, the premier distributor for small literary presses in the United States, signs a contract with New Rivers to sell its books. David Haynes, author of two New Rivers Press books, Right by My Side and Heathens, is chosen by Granta as one of the Best Young American Novelists Under Forty in 1997. A collaboration of the five literary presses of Minnesota receives funding from the Star Tribune Foundation to hire a subsidiary rights agent to sell paperback, film, and foreign rights.
1998 New Rivers Press celebrates its 30th anniversary. C.W. Truesdale receives the Kay Sexton Award for contributions to the community of the book. The anthology Tanzania on Tuesday receives a Minnesota Book Award. The first book of prose poetry in the Marie Alexander series is Traffic, by New Yorker Jack Anderson.
1999 The Talking of Hands wins the Minnesota Book Award. A Degree of Mastery by Annie Tremmel Wilcox is chosen as an alternate by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and paperback rights are sold to Penguin. C. W. Truesdale steps down as publisher. Robert Alexander is chosen Creative Director. New Rivers Press receives a grant from the NEA for Southeast Asian American Writing: Tilting the Continent.
2000 New Rivers Press moves its offices to Suite 1180 in the Ford Centre. The one hundredth book in Minnesota Voices Project is published. The Headwaters competition expands to four national winners and the honorarium increases to $1000 and publication of the manuscript.
2001 New Rivers Press relocates to Minnesota State University Moorhead. It agrees to publish existing books under contract.
2003-Present New Rivers Press publishes its first three titles under its new arrangement. It now has a dual mission: to acquire, publish and promote the most enduring contemporary literature that it can find and to provide academic learning opportunities for students. A "certificate of publishing" is available for students and a concentration in publishing for MFA students. Besides the MVP Series, New Rivers Press at MSUM has partnered with The Plains Art Museum to publish a gallery catalog and reappraisal of the sculptor Duane Hanson and with the Stonecoast M.F.A. Program to publish the winner of the Stonecoast Book Prize. We are actively seeking such partnerships.
We hold an annual literary festival each Fall in Fargo-Moorhead, attend the Twin Cities Book Fair and the national AWP convention annually, and work with our authors to bring as much attention to their work as we can. We urge you to support literary small presses by purchasing titles, attending events, and donating when possible to such not-for-profit organizations.
New Rivers Press was founded in 1968 by C. W. "Bill" Truesdale and has published more than 340 titles. In 2001, after Truesdale's death, Alan Davis and Wayne Gudmundson were instrumental in reviving and relocating it to MSUM, where its dual mission is to publish literary work of every character, with an emphasis on new and emerging writers, and to provide learning opportunities, including a Certificate in Publishing, for students in partnership with MSUM. The press honors Truesdale's progressive spirit by publishing work with a strong sense of place that speaks to our troubled times with satyagraha (the truthforce), empathy, and aesthetic courage.
The Animals Beyond Us, poems
"His poems are finely observed, precisely felt, and they bring magic to the domestic life, the real magic of language that has power to transform a world." ~John Dufresne, author
"I love Mason's instructive intensity and will, her grace and ability to translate desire into something scary yet gorgeous." ~David Dodd Lee, author
Downriver People, fiction
Bea Exner Liu
"Americans should read, and ponder, this humane memoir of an American life in a China now massively, but not unrecognizably, transformed." ~Robert A. Knapp
Girl Held in Home, fiction
"...Elizabeth Searle uses her signature zany brilliance to turn suburbia, adultery, parenting, politics, and even terrorism into something new and insightful." ~Ann Hood, author
Hotel Utopia, poems
"[This] is a book of angles. These poems come from one bend in the mind, then another, from one tilt in the heart, then another. Whether the content is personal, mystical, or political, the voice is deliciously agile." ~Tim Seibles, author
The Muse of Ocean Parkway and Other Stories, short story collection
"Not since The Magic Barrel have I read a short story collection that delivers such lacerating wit and tempered realism." ~C. Michael Curtis, editor