Among the virtues of literature is that it expands human experience: readers are not confined to their own limited stories. Writers present an array of other worlds, perceptions, and ideas, so that with each turn of the page readers can explore the unknown.
Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry publishes the finest short fiction, poetry and short creative nonfiction twice a year. Just like its namesake Nimrod, the mythological and mighty hunter in Alexander Pope’s poem “Windsor Forest,” Nimrod’s staff hunts for great literature and unique human experiences. Once the hunt has ended and readers open the latest edition, they revel in storylines that are both unique and universal.
Turn a Few Pages to Learn More
Nimrod is The University of Tulsa’s literary magazine. Editor-in-Chief Eilis O’Neal said, “We started in 1956 as a graduate student publication, but by the 1960s, we were a national publication.”
The journal publishes emerging and well-established authors side by side. “Nimrod’s mission is the discovery, development, and promotion of writers at all stages of their writing careers,” O’Neal said. “That means we publish writers who are well known, such as U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, and we also publish writers who are just getting started in their publishing careers.”
Internationally recognized for its literary awards, Nimrod boasts one of the oldest literary competitions in the country. For more than 40 years, thousands of submissions come in each year for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. “Writers compete for prize money, publication, and a chance to take part in the Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers,” O’Neal said.
Recently, Nimrod started offering the Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers. “This is for people who are just getting their foot in the door,” O’Neal explained. “They compete for prize money and publication in our spring issue.”
Nimrod’s spring issue is thematic. Thematic issues range from broad topics such as memory, reimagined stories, and home to issues focusing on specific regions of the world, such as the upcoming spring 2019 issue on the Middle East and North Africa, or communities within it, such as LGBTQIA writers.
No way! Nimrod published who?
Nimrod helped launch the careers of several notable authors. “We were among the first publications to publish writers who are now household names: fiction authors Sue Monk Kidd and Ursula K. Le Guin and poet William Stafford,” O’Neal said. They have also attracted other renowned authors:
- Michael Blumenthal
- Mahmud Darwish
- Mark Doty
- Rita Dove
- Maxine Kumin
- Stanley Kunitz
- Denise Levertov
- Pablo Neruda
- Alicia Ostriker
- Linda Pastan
- Octavio Paz
Nimrod was one of the first to publish TU alumna S.E. Hinton, author of The Outsiders. “We published the short story version of what went on to become her famous young adult novel Rumble Fish,” O’Neal added.
2018 Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers
Every October, regional writers, readers, and those simply interested in the arts gather to attend the Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers. “On October 19th, we have Write Night, which features our fiction and our poetry judges for the Nimrod Literary Awards. They will give a reading, and it’s free and open to the public,” Associate Editor Cassidy McCants said.
On Saturday, October 20th during the conference, both the judges and additional genre authors teach workshops. “We have a fantastic group of writers who are going to be coming to teach masterclasses in writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and genres all across the board. No matter what you write, we have something for you at the Conference,” Editor-in-Chief Eilis O’Neal said. Check out the Nimrod Conference website for a full list of presenters and topics.
Attendees can even enjoy one-on-one editing sessions with professional editors. Before the Conference, writers can submit a sample of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction and receive a critique at the conference. “Editors will tell you what works with your manuscript, what doesn’t work, and what you can improve,” O’Neal said.
This year, they will also feature novel pitch critiques with Carl Engle-Laird, a professional editor at Tor.com Publishing. He will meet with aspiring novelists to hear their pitches, explain what works and what they can do to get his attention as a publisher.
The cost of the Conference ranges from $50 to $70. Scholarships are available upon request, which lower the price to $10. The Conference is for everyone. “We have writers ranging from high school student who have never attended a conference before all the way up to senior citizens and everyone in between,” O’Neal said.
TU Students Learn the World of Publishing
TU students can get a taste of editing for creative writing journals by interning with Nimrod. “It’s really amazing that Nimrod is here at TU; it allows students to have an in-depth look at publishing on a local level,” Editor-in-Chief Eilis O’Neal said.
From evaluating manuscripts to assisting with the Nimrod Conference, students get the inside scoop on the publishing industry. English and creative writing senior Elise McGouran got to read and critique manuscripts as part of her internship. “We had a scale that we rated each story on. We could add comments, and then it would go on to the next tier [of readers],” McGouran said.
English graduate student Caleb Freeman (BA ’17) has set his future sights on writing as a career. “There is a bit of osmosis that happens when you are working at a literary journal,” he said. “You start absorbing the good parts of the writing that you see. You learn how to write in a more literary style, and you also see the pitfalls that some writers fall into.”
Students not only improve their writing but also learn how to work in an office setting, field questions from the public, and organize events. They assist with the Nimrod Conference and attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference.
“I don’t think I realized how well known Nimrod was until after my internship,” McGouran confided. “I was applying for internships, and they immediately knew Nimrod. Working at Nimrod made me more marketable for internships.”
No matter what subject students are studying, they are eligible to intern at Nimrod. After completing his undergraduate degree, Freeman worked at Tulsa Habitat for Humanity. “I found myself relying on a lot of the skills that I learned at Nimrod: working in an office, knowing when to be on top of things, how to keep things organized, and how to communicate with people,” he said. “All of that stuff is key, and it’s going to help you whether or not you want to get into writing as a profession.”
Nimrod International Journal embraces has the power that writing has to “entertain us, challenge us, and change us,” O’Neal said.
“We are proud to be a journal that has been promoting diverse voices for more than 60 years, and we are committed to helping writers become better at their craft, whether those writers have been writing for 60 years or just one.”