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.




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.

Carl Nelson

What would you do if you awoke to find a suitcase filled with cash in your living room?

This premise is Andrew Kopecky's response to the WNIJ Flash Fiction prompt, which required an opening sentence describing an outrageous, inexplicable situation.

Carl Nelson

WNIJ called for submissions, and scores of writers responded from all over northern Illinois.

Our Flash Fiction contest, announced Aug. 29, sought very short stories (about five hundred words) in keeping with a prompt issued by our judge, Molly McNett.

Our Flash Fiction judge, Molly McNett, selected four winning stories -- a first-place winner, a second-place winner, and two stories that tied for third. The authors got to read their stories to WNIJ listeners during Morning Edition.

Of the 110 submissions, McNett felt six more stories deserved honorable mentions. These authors got to read their stories in our studios and have them video recorded.

Dan Klefstad

Labor Day is traditionally when political campaigns go into high gear. According to conventional wisdom, that's when voters start paying more attention to the candidates.

But this election cycle is anything but conventional. The major party presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are well-known to voters but for the wrong reasons; both have high negative ratings.

What's more, the rhetoric from both campaigns is increasingly ugly, which has observers wondering if this will lower voter turnout in the fall.