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LC State assistant professor Anderson wins national nonfiction writing award

LEWISTON, Idaho – Jennifer Anderson, an assistant professor in the Humanities Division at Lewis-Clark State College, won the prestigious Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize for creative nonfiction for 2019 with her essay “The Trailer,” officials with the literary magazine have announced.

The Missouri Review, founded in 1978, is based at the University of Missouri and is one of the highly-regarded literary magazines in the United States. Each year, it holds a writing contest for nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Anderson’s work, based on a personal experience, was chosen the top nonfiction work. She will have her essay published in the magazine and earned a $5,000 first-place prize. She also will be honored in Columbia, Mo., in early May, where she will do a reading.

“The Trailer” is based on an experience Anderson had with a homeless woman in Lewiston. Anderson said that about a year after someone abandoned a trailer on her family’s property, the woman moved in, without permission or knowledge of Anderson’s family, and was living there when Anderson discovered her. Anderson’s essay is based on the internal battle and interaction she had with the woman.

“The essay questions what our responsibility is to others, something I think we all struggle with it at times,” Anderson said.

She said the essay took her about three months to finish, which she says was “very quick” for her. She said it can sometimes take her a couple of years to complete her writing.

Only unpublished works of up to 8,500 words were allowed to be submitted for the contest.

Anderson graduated from LC State in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. She earned a master’s in nonfiction creative writing at the University of Idaho. She has taught full-time at the college for 11 years.