WaR Summary of Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence

by Mary Lamphere

Griffin and Sabine, by Nick Bantock, is an epistolary, interactive, illustrated novel. At 48 pages, it was certainly a stray from recent WaR reads. (The Third Coast was 544 pages, Beautiful Fools was 368 pages, and Me Before You was 448 pages.)

Griffin and Sabine is a mystery that unfolds one handwritten letter or post card at a time. The exchange is between two “strangers” who are both artists. She lives on a (fictional) tropical island, he in London. Through their conversations we learn that for whatever reason, she is able to see through his eyes when he creates art. At first, he is logically skeptical, but over time she convinces him it’s true. This connection is very deep and they begin to fall in love through their correspondence of shared experiences and creativity. The involvement for the reader is quite personal as well, opening envelopes and flipping cards to “eavesdrop” on their discussions.

This is the first book in a trilogy and it reads as so. The end is not really an end, but it certainly gets you wondering.

Griffin and Sabine is a unique book in that the illustrations are part of the story. There is probably more story revealed through the images than there is in the words. In club, we talked about the themes, content, and interpretation. Love, loneliness, and connection were themes that resonated. Most of the group appreciated the interactive nature of the book, but wouldn’t be inclined to read more like it or create one. Our best discussions surrounded the original art and how it related to the story. The elements of style, colors, and graphic nature of the art more often contradicted the words, informing the reader of a multi-leveled story. What is really going on here?

Because of its physical attributes, Griffin and Sabine isn’t available as an e-book. Those qualities also make it hard to describe this novel. I recommend you check it out from the library, pick it up at the book store, or borrow it from me. It’s worth a perusal.


WNIJ Flash Fiction Contest

Attention Short Story WritersWNIJ logo

Enter the Flash Fiction Contest

WNIJ invites you to submit an original work of short fiction based on the following prompt:

Your first sentence must describe an outrageous, inexplicable situation, like Franz Kafka’s protagonist waking up to discover he’s a giant insect.

We invited prize-winning author Molly McNett to create this prompt and to help us select the winning stories.

To enter, write a short story of approximately 500 words responding to the prompt by the contest deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 12. The authors of the winning entries will be invited to read their story on air during Morning Edition the week of October 3, 2016.

Click here for contest rules and for all information about how to enter.

We look forward to reading your work, and good luck.

Contest Rules
Contest Registration Form

WNIJ is a gathering place for regional literature.
For more information about related programming, visit wnij.org.

September General Meeting – Reedy Press and a Harvest of Opportunities

Meet the Publisher

Writers are invited to meet with Josh Stevens, publisher and editor at Reedy Press, during the September general meeting of In Print Professional Writers Organization (IPPWO) from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept 10, at the Cherry Valley Public Library, 755 E Main Street, Cherry Valley.

IPPWO members, as well as non-members, may bring their ideas to discuss with Stevens and his representative, Molly Page, and hear what Reedy Press is seeking from writers.

Page is the author of  100 Things to do in Chicago before You Die, a regional best seller. According to Stevens, Page is a marketing dynamo, and is taking the lead for Reedy in acquiring new regional titles on Chicago / Illinois.

Bring Your Book Pitches

Stevens plans to be available to speak with authors individually for 10 to 15 minute time slots, and to take proposals for books.  A variety of non-fiction subjects may be proposed such as history, communities of note, tourism, food, institutions, iconic neighborhoods, guide books, sports. Include your bios and any information on published work you wish to mention in a package for Stevens to review. Continue reading “September General Meeting – Reedy Press and a Harvest of Opportunities”

WaR Readers Trek Through WWII with French Sisters

by Sharon Boehlefeld
Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale generated mixed reviews from Writers as Readers in August.The-Nightingale
The WWII novel traces the paths of two sisters and their father during the German occupation of France. One sister, who stayed at home in the French countryside, ended up being forced to board two German officers of opposite dispositions. The other became involved in the resistance, traveling from Paris to Leon, on to Spain and back again, eventually being captured by the Germans. Their father, who also worked in the resistance, spent most of his time in Paris.
The title is both the nom de guerre of the sister in the resistance, and their family name, Rossignol, the French word for nightingale.
Structurally, Hannah put most of the action in the war, but a story arc from the “present” helped generate some mystery as to which of the sisters survived long after the war. For the war years, Hannah switched point of view from one sister to the other, showing both times when their lives intersected and when they separated. Some readers liked that approach, while others were distracted by it. Continue reading “WaR Readers Trek Through WWII with French Sisters”

A Different Approach to Storytelling, Writing for Non-Fiction Publications

A recap of July’s general meeting.

by Tricia Wagner

Chris Linden, editor and writer for Northwest Quarterly Magazine, joined In Printers for the July meeting and shared insights about writing for non-fiction publications. He stressed that, though a non-fiction magazine like Northwest Quarterly showcases true stories, writers should still tap into their creativity and provide pieces that demonstrate the universal qualities of great writing: strong characters, emotion, setting, and conflict.

In reviewing proposals, Chris looks for writers who can tell him a great story. Northwest Quarterly Magazine covers Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin, and Northwest Chicagoland, and he looks for content that is local, inspiring, and has good visual appeal. The staff of Northwest Quarterly recognize that negative stories are easy to find. Their mission, by contrast, is to be publishers of relentlessly positive, uplifting, and informative magazines. Chris encouraged In Printers to think differently about the news and take a different approach when capturing non-fiction stories – one that illustrates the rich quality of life that can be experience in the local area. As the magazine is release quarterly, Chris looks for stories that match the season. The topics he accepts are broad, and examples include nature, conservation, animals, people of interest, regional history, tourism activities, home living, and local business and industry. Continue reading “A Different Approach to Storytelling, Writing for Non-Fiction Publications”

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream

By Mary LamphereThe Third Coast

The July selection for Writers as Readers (WaR) was The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, by Thomas Dyja, a book about the history of Chicago. I was eager to read this One Book-One Chicago selection for 2016. I enjoyed the blend of story-telling and history woven through Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen and was looking forward to more like that. I loved the idea of Chicago being a “third coast”, the heart of an emerging America influencing the arts, politics, and construction of a nation, from New York to L.A. Continue reading “The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream”

Gilead, June Writers as Readers (WaR) Summary — linda’s pensieve

Winner of the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson is a genteel study of 1950’s rural life in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa. Published in 2004, Gilead is Robinson’s second novel, following her critically acclaimed debut novel Housekeeping. Gilead is one of those books that you […]

via Gilead, June Writers as Readers (WaR) Summary — linda’s pensieve

WaR Discussed African American Female Sci-Fi Writer

by Cindy Kremer

In May, the Writers as Readers (WaR) group discussed Dawn book coverDawn by Octavia E. Butler, an African American science fiction writer. This was Book One of the Xenogenesis Trilogy, now published under the current title of Lilith’s Brood. This book was written in 1987 and the undercurrents of the U.S. and Russian nuclear arms race have destroyed earth as we know it at the beginning of our story.

This literary genre is not one of my favorites, but Octavia is an elegant writer who kept our interest with her very visual depictions of Lilith on an Oankali ship. Depicting the story centuries into the future permits the reader to believe the setting that is portrayed. She uses archetypes that depict the ugliness of the aliens and she left us wanting to read the rest of the series. Continue reading “WaR Discussed African American Female Sci-Fi Writer”