Dan Klefstad

Morning Edition Host & Book Series Editor

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather and other information, with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.

What do I do after the show ends at 9:00? I read. I'm especially interested in literature from the WNIJ area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by Illinois and Wisconsin authors. Then I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. You can download these interviews and excerpts from WNIJ's "Read With Me" book series archive.

If you're a writer from this area, or have a personal connection to this place, send your book to me at 801 N. 1st St., DeKalb, IL 60115. You can also email it to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. While many of the books I feature come from traditional presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your book got a good edit.

Thanks,

@danklefstad

#WNIJReadWithMe

From the candidates' websites.

Greetings from Illinois' 16th Congressional District, where voters will find one U.S. House candidate on the ballot: incumbent Republican Adam Kinzinger.

This results directly from 2010 redistricting, when state Democrats -- who controlled the map making process -- packed Republicans into a half-moon around Chicago's suburbs, stretching from Wisconsin to Indiana. This made neighboring districts less Republican, but it created a nearly impossible environment for Democratic challengers in the 16th.

Johnson: congress.com/Feingold: madison.com

Two weeks ago, control of the U.S. Senate could be determined by a flip of the coin. Today, Democrats have a 70% to 75% chance of retaking the upper chamber.

That's according to Matt Streb, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University. Streb spoke to WNIJ about the Wisconsin and Illinois Senate races, plus eight U.S. House races in the WNIJ area. We'll feature those interviews each morning this week.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is standing by Donald Trump, even as polls show the Wisconsin Republican trailing Democratic challenger Russ Feingold.

Northern Illinois University political scientist Matt Streb is watching this race closely. He says Sen. Johnson is limited to two difficult choices with Trump on the ballot.

Carl Nelson

Of the 110 submissions for the WNIJ Flash Fiction contest, "Losers Weepers" impressed our judge the most. Author Marie Smysor Watson sent her story in response to a prompt issued by Molly McNett, who selected the winners. The prompt required the opening sentence to describe an outrageous, inexplicable situation.

Watson is from Kewanee. She's seeking a publisher for a short-story collection and is writing her first novel.

Carl Nelson

Today's WNIJ Flash Fiction winner was written by an accomplished Chicago writer. Ashley Keyser's work appeared in literary journals such as Pleiades, The Cincinnati Review and Passages North. Her poetry also was included in the Best New Poets 2015 anthology.

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