Merriam-Frontier Award Winner to Read at Mansfield Library

February 26, 2014

MISSOULA – Julia Ohman, a first-year graduate student in the University of Montana Creative Writing Program, is the winner of this year’s Merriam-Frontier Award.

Ohman will read from her winning fiction submission, “Vertical Streets,” from 4:10 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 7, in the Theta Rho Room of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library. The reading is free and open to the public.

The award was established by H.G. Merriam, UM professor of English and creative writing from 1919 to 1954, and includes a $500 prize and funds to publish the winning entry as a chapbook. The contest is open to undergraduate and graduate students each autumn semester.

The judges, local writers Lois Welch, Bridget Carson and Ginny Merriam, chose Ohman’s collection of stories because she “shows such maturity in the development of characters, as well as a masterful control of plot.”

Frontier, later titled Frontier and Midland, was a distinguished quarterly journal founded and edited by H.G. Merriam and published at UM from 1920 to 1939. Contributors included then-emerging talents Wallace Stegner, A.B. Guthrie Jr., William Saroyan, Dorothy Johnson, John Mason Brown, Weldon Kees, Thomas McGrath and many others. A particular strength of the journal was its frequent publication of work by young authors, a tradition the Merriam-Frontier Award honors and continues.

The reading is sponsored by the UM Creative Writing Program and the Mansfield Library. For more information call Creative Writing Program Coordinator Karin Schalm at 406-243-5267, email or visit




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