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Molly McNett is next up in the River Readings

March  01, 2011

Molly McNett, winner of the 2008 John Simmons Award for fiction from the University of Iowa Press, will speak at the next River Readings at Augustana March 24.

The reading will begin at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall in Denkmann Memorial Hall, 3520 7th Ave., Rock Island, on the Augustana campus. A reception will be held after the reading.

The award was for McNett's book of short stories "One Dog Happy." In the story McNett writes:

"... in that very moment — because, perhaps, the dog had been sensing this slackening, or, more likely, because it caught, just at that moment, a particular musk for which it lusted more than anything in the world — the dog gave a sudden sharp yank on the leash.

"And that was that. The leash just slipped off of Mr. Bob's hand, and the dog was off, into the long grasses of the prairie. For a few moments, he could see it, the tail arcing like a dolphin's fin in the ocean of prairie grass, up and down, until suddenly the movement ceased."

Annie McCormick of Booklist writes, "In this heartbreaking collection, McNett breathes life into her very realistic characters, all of whom are struggling to play the unlucky hand they’ve been dealt. With each story firmly planted in the heartland of America, emotions run rampant as each copes with his or her poignant situation... McNett subtly brings a touch of optimism and compassion to her stories from some improbable places.”

McNett teaches English composition at Northern Illinois University. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a teaching-writing fellow.

In 2008 and 2009 her stories were awarded the Peden Prize from the Missouri Review, given a special mention in the Pushcart Prize series, and named as one of the 100 Distinguished stories from the Best American Short Stories series, edited by Salmon Rushdie.

McNett recently was awarded a fellowship to the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H. She is at work on a novel in stories.

The River Readings at Augustana is sponsored by the Institute for Leadership and Service, the Thomas Tredway Library, and the English Department.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833