Jennifer Anderson has won the Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in creative nonfiction for 2019 according to BigCountryNews.
Anderson, assistant professor in the Humanities Division at Lewis-Clark State College, won $5,000 with her piece “The Trailer.” Her essay will be published in the Missouri Review and in early May she will be honored in Colombia, Mo., with a reading of her submission.
The story she wrote was that of a personal experience Anderson had when she discovered a woman who was living in an abandoned trailer on her property.
Though the woman has since been removed from the trailer, Anderson is still grappling with the hard decision she made. “The essay is about our responsibility to other people. Do we have a responsibility to other people? What is my responsibility to others?” are the questions that her story explores.
Despite other works of hers being written over a long period, “The Trailer” was written in a few short months. Part of the reason for this was the fact that she had a goal to complete this piece to submit for the contest.
Anderson mentioned that “often when we write we revise and revise and revise and we sit with the piece for a long time and this one just seemed to come out.” She set herself that goal, pushed through and found success in her efforts.
According to the Missouri Review, there were 14 finalists in the nonfiction category and Anderson’s piece stood out over three runners-up.
After hearing that she won the contest, she mentioned that she was floored and the experience was thrilling. Her main goal for this piece was to use the contest deadline as a way for her to finish the piece. Winning first place was an added bonus that she was not expecting.
Other works of Anderson’s have been published in upwards of 15 various journals, some of which include Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Cimarron Review, Brevity, and Open Spaces Quarterly, stated by the Missouri Review.
In 2000, Anderson graduated from LCSC with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her master’s in non-fiction creative writing was obtained at the University of Idaho. She has taught full time at LCSC for 11 years.
The Missouri Review is a not-for-profit literary magazine based out of the University of Missouri. This magazine was founded in 1978 and is considered to be one of the most highly-regarded literary magazines in the United States according to its website.
The magazine is known for holding an annual writing contest for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Four issues are published every year, and each issue comprises approximately five new stories, three new poetry features and two essays.
These pieces are written by new, emerging and mid-career authors who send submissions from all over the world. The submissions are read year-round as the Missouri Review maintains an “open submission” policy.
Approximately 12,000 pieces of original work are submitted to the journal each year, which are then read by more than 20 undergraduate and graduate interns.