History of MVP
In 1981, New Rivers Press started the annual Minnesota Voices Project (now titled the MVP, or the Many Voices Project) in a competition for "new and emerging" writers from Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. More recently, one book each year was chosen from nation-wide submissions, and the other two from submissions by writers who reside in Minnesota or New York City. For the purposes of this competition, an emerging writer is one who has published two or fewer books of creative writing with a commercial, university or nationally-distributed small press. This year (2009), we have decided to award two national prizes, one in poetry and one in prose, without geographical restrictions.
Our submission period runs from September 15 to November 1 (postmark). Like all New Rivers Press titles, the MVP books are promoted and distributed nationally by Consortium, bringing widespread attention to both the authors and the press.
Because the press has been integrated into Minnesota State Moorhead's curricular workings, student interns and others will work on editorial, design, promotion and publicity matters under the close direction and participation of professionals who teach or serve on the staff of Minnesota State.
Open to new and emerging writers, the MVP is vital to the support of new writing. A number of writers who entered the competition without success one year resubmitted at a later date after revising their manuscripts and were chosen for publication. New Rivers Press, thanks to the Jerome Foundation, did not require an entry fee until 2008, so that the competition could be as inclusive as possible; though we now require a $20 entry fee to help cover expenses, we still welcome the opportunity to read work of every character. The MVP competition helps to foster a community of respect and support for writers.
Since 1981, 119 books have been produced in the MVP series. Over seventy-five percent are by women. The writers who enter come from all walks of life. Benet Tvedten is a monk in South Dakota. Gail Rixen is a carpenter in Chokio, Minnesota. Deb Marquart is a jazz singer and professor in Iowa. Ed Bok Lee is a Korean-American performance poet, teacher, and actor in Minneapolis. Duke Klassen is a Minnesota self-employed silversmith. Born in Ahmadabad, India, Purvi Shah directs a community-based anti-domestic violence organization for South Asian Women in New York City. All are wonderful writers.
The Many Voices Project Competition books represent a range of communities and cultures. From the barmaids and faith healers of John Reinhard's Burning the Prairie to David Haynes’s portrait of one year in the life of an African American teenager in Right by My Side, MVP books celebrate diversity.
Short Story Collection
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.
New Books October 2011
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