History


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 culturally diverse and 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 tree-trimmer, 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.

History of the Many Voices Project

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. Beginning in 2009, New Rivers Press has awarded two national prizes, one in poetry and one in prose, without geographical restrictions.

Like all New Rivers Press titles, the MVP books are promoted and distributed nationally by Consortium, bringing widespread attention to the authors and the press.

Because the press has been integrated into Minnesota State University Moorhead's curricular workings, student interns and others work on editorial, design, promotion, and publicity matters under the close direction and participation of professionals who teach or serve on the staff of MSUM.

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. Although we now require a $25 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.

Many Voices Project Facts

Since 1981, 119 books have been produced in the MVP series. More than 75 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 MVP 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.

Books in the Many Voices Project
  • #128 Whitney (Joe Stracci) - Fall 2013
  • #127 Rare Earth (Bradford Tice) - Fall 2013
  • #126 The Way of All Flux (Sharon Suzuki-Martinez) - Fall 2012
  • #125 It Takes You Over (Nick Healy) - Fall 2012
  • #124 The Muse of Ocean Parkway and Other Stories (Jacob Lampart) - Fall 2011
  • #123 Hotel Utopia (Robert Miltner) - Fall 2011
  • #122 Kinesthesia (Stephanie N. Johnson) - Fall 2010
  • #121 Birds of Wisconsin (B.J. Best) - Fall 2010
  • #120 At Home Anywhere (Mary Hoffman) - Fall 2010
  • #119 Friend Among Stones: Poems (Maya Pindyck) - Fall 2009
  • #118 Fallibility: Poems (Elizabeth Oness) - Fall 2009
  • #117 When Love Was Clean Underwear: Novel (Susan Barr-Toman) - Fall 2009
  • #116 The Sound of It: Poems (Tim Nolan)
  • #115 Hollow Out: Poems (Kelsea Habecker)
  • #114 Bend from the Knees: Stories (Benjamin Drevlow)
  • #113 The Tender, Wild Things: Poems (Diane Jarvenpa)
  • #112 Signaling for Rescue: Stories (Marianne Herrmann)
  • #111 Cars Go Fast: Stories (John Chattin)
  • #110 Terrain Tracks: Poems (Purvi Shah)
  • #109 Numerology and Other Stories (Christian Michener)
  • #108 Not a Matter of Love: Stories (Beth Alvarado)
  • #107 Real Karaoke People: Poems (E. Bok Lee)
  • #106 Love in An Expanding Universe: Stories (Ron Rindo)
  • #105 Second Language: Stories (Ronna Wineberg)
  • #104 Landing Zones: Stories (Edward Micus)
  • #103 The Volunteer: Poems (Candace Black)
  • #102 Nice Girls and Other Stories (Cezarija Abartis)
  • #101 Paper Boat: Poems (Cullen Bailey Burns)
  • #99 Mozart's Carriage: Poems (Daniel Bachhuber)
  • #98 The Pact: A Novel (Walter Roers)
  • #97 Alone with the Owl: Stories (Alan Davis)
  • #96 Rafting on the Water Table: Poems (Susan Steger Welsh)
  • #95 Woman Lake: Poems (Richard Broderick)
  • #94 The Record Player and Other Stories (Winifred Moranville)
  • #93 Casting Lines: Poems (Orval Lund)
  • #92 Dakota Incarnate: A Collection of Short Stories (Bill McDonald)
  • #91 Vendettas, Charms, and Prayers : Poems (Pamela Gemin)
  • #90 An Alchemy in the Bones: Poems (William Reichard)
  • #89 Music of the Inner Lakes: Stories (Roger Sheffer)
  • #88 The Fragile Peace You Keep: Poems (Kel Munger)
  • #87 The Dirty Shame Hotel: and Other Stories (Ron Block)
  • #85 Sermon on a Perfect Spring Day (Philip Bryant)
  • #84 Rootbound (Jeanne Emmons)
  • #83 Bonfire (Connie Wanek)
  • #82 Laudromat Blues (Lupe Solis)
  • #81 The Natural Father (Robert Lacy)
  • #80 Self Storage (Mary Helen Stefaniak)
  • #79 Fishing for Myth (Heid E. Erdrich)
  • #78 Sustenance (Aaron Anstett)
  • #77 On the Road to Patsy Cline (John Reinhard)
  • #76 Remembering China 1935-1945 (Bea Lui)
  • #75 The Dance Hall at Spring Hill (Duke Klassen)
  • #74 Divining the Landscape (Diane Jarvenpa)
  • #73 To Collect the Flesh (Greg Hewett)
  • #72 Heathens (David Haynes)
  • #71 Secrets Men Keep (Ron Rindo)
  • #70 Everything's a Verb (Debra Marquart)
  • #69 Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers (Ann Lundberg Grunke)
  • #68 What They Always Were (Norita Dittberner-Jax)
  • #67 Coming Up for Light and Air (Barbara Crow)
  • #66 Mal D'Afrique (Jarda Cervenka)
  • #65 Aerial Studies (Sandra Adelmund Witt)
  • #64 The Peace Terrorist (Carol Masters)
  • #63 Thin Ice and Other Risks (Gary Eller)
  • #62 Falling in Love at the End of the World (Rick Christman)
  • #61 This House Is Filled With Cracks (Madelyn Camrud)
  • #60 Handmade Paper (Patricia Barone)
  • #59 Under the Influence of Blackbirds (Sharon Van Sluys)
  • #58 Jump Rope Queen (Karen Loeb)
  • #57 Wolves (Jim Johnson)
  • #56 The Second Thing I Remember (Judith Hougen)
  • #55 Right by My Side (David Haynes) This title is out of print
  • #54 Rumors From the Lost World (Alan Davis)
  • #53 Edith Jacobson Begins to Fly (Patricia Zontelli)
  • #52 Learning to Dance & Other Stories (Sharon Oard Warner)
  • #51 Mykonos: A Memoir (Nancy Raeburn) This title is out of print
  • #50 Billy Brazil (Emilio DeGrazia) This title is out of print
  • #49 House Fire: A Collection of Poems (B.J. Buhrow)
  • #48 From the Lanai & Other Hawaii Stories (Jessica K. Saiki)
  • #47 Pictures of Three Seasons (Gail Rixen)
  • #46 Pieces from the Long Afternoon (Monica Ochtrup)
  • #45 Primary Colors (Barbara Croft)
  • #44 But I Won't Go Out in a Boat (Sharon Chmielarz)
  • #43 No Peace at Versailles and Other Stories (Nina Barragan)
  • #42 Borrowed Voices (Roger Sheffer)
  • #41 This Body She's Entered (Mary K. Rummel)
  • #40 Suburban Metaphysics (Ron Rindo)
  • #39 Out Far, In Deep (Alvin Handelman)
  • #38 Dismal River (Ronald Block)
  • #37 Turning Out the Lights (Sigrid Bergie)
  • #36 The Transparency of Skin (Catherine Stearns) This title is out of print
  • #35 Burning the Prairie (John Reinhard)
  • #34 Last Summer (Davida Kilgore) This title is out of print
  • #33 The High Price of Everything (Kathleen Coskran)
  • #32 Storm Lines (Warren Woessner) This title is out of print
  • #31 Dying Old and Dying Young (Susan Williams)
  • #30 Once, A Lotus Garden (Jessica Saiki) This title is out of print
  • #29 Holidays (Lisa Ruffolo) This title is out of print
  • #28 The Wind (Patricia Barone)
  • #27 All Manner of Monks (Benet Tvedten) This title is out of print
  • #26 Flash Paper (Theresa Pappas) This title is out of print
  • #25 Tap Dancing for Big Mom (Roseann Lloyd)
  • #24 Twelve Below Zero (Anthony Bukoski) This title is out of print
  • #23 Locomotion (Elizabeth Evans) This title is out of print
  • #22 What I Cannot Say/I Will Say (Monica Ochtrup)
  • #21 Descent of Heaven Over the Lake (Sheryl Noethe) This title is out of print
  • #20 Matty's Heart (C.J. Hribal) This title is out of print
  • #19 Stars Above, Stars Below (Margaret Hasse) This title is out of print
  • #18 Golf Ball Diver (Neal Bowers) This title is out of print
  • #17 The Weird Kid (Mark Vinz) This title is out of print
  • #16 Morning Windows (Michael Moos) This title is out of print
  • #15 Powers (Marisha Chamberlain) This title is out of print
  • #14 Suspicious Origins (Perry Glasser) This title is out of print
  • #13 Blenheim Palace (Wendy Parrish) This title is out of print
  • #12 Rivers, Stories, Houses, Dreams (Madelon Sprengnether)
  • #11 We'll Come When It Rains (Yvette Nelson) This title is out of print
  • #10 Different Arrangements (Sharon Chmielarz)
  • #9 Casualties (Katherine Carlson)
  • #8 Night Sale (Richard Broderick)
  • #7 When I Was a Father (Alvaro Carona-Hine) This title is out of print
  • #6 Changing the Past (Laurie Taylor) This title is out of print
  • #5 I Live in the Watchmaker's Town (Ruth Roston) This title is out of print
  • #4 Normal Heart (Madelon Gohlke) This title is out of print
  • #3 Heron Dancer (John Solensten)
  • #2 The Reconstruction of Light (John Minczeski) This title is out of print
  • #1 Household Wounds (Deborah Keenan) This title is out of print
Authors
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 more than 124 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).
New Rivers Press is the current home of American Fiction, an annual anthology of stories chosen through a national competition. Last published in 2012 (Volume Twelve), 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.
During our spring open submissions period, we consider both specialized literary manuscripts and general work from new, emerging and established writers.
New Rivers Press was founded in New York state and for the past thirty-plus 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, online, or directly from New Rivers Press. Since 2011, we have offered some of our titles as e-publications.
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 Minnesotas 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 byAnnie 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 100th 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, as is 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 and Fairfield University to publish the Fairfield Prize. We actively seek such partnerships.
We attend the Twin Cities Book Fair, the South Dakota Festival of Books, and the national AWP convention annually, and we 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.