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 listening area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by authors from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Then I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. Interviews and excerpts are available as podcasts in our 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 a .doc or .pdf to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. While most of the books I feature come from established presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your manuscript is well edited.




Ways to Connect

Our Winter Book Series continues Monday with Paris, He Said by Christine Sneed.

The novel is about an aspiring artist, Jayne Marks, who leaves New York City for the "City of Light," home of her new lover, a gallery owner named Laurent.

You can hear a snippet of the interview in the radio promo below:

Christine Sneed is a visiting professor at the University of Illinois. Paris, He Said is her second novel.

Memory and desire are common themes in Joe Gastiger's prose poems. In his latest collection, If You So Desire, he uses historically famous people to illustrate these themes as well as ordinary people in the news.

Chris Mann

Our roving reporter, Dan Libman, returns with a story about last weekend's "Tour de Frost" bike ride around Rockford. The 6th annual event raised money, and bicycles, for the Rockford Rescue Mission.

Two writers meet in a bar called The Jesuit in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The older one is struggling to finish the final book in his contract. The younger one hopes to repeat his one publishing success.

They only met the day before; but the older man, Nigel Moon, proposes a deal:

"What Moon would like the other writer to do is ghost-write this final book for him," says Craig Hart, author of the novel Becoming Moon, our first Winter Book Series selection for this season.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner hasn't met with legislative leaders since the end of May, so today's expected meeting is important.

Or, rather, it will be if talks continue.

Illinois has been without a budget since July and is one of two U.S. states without a spending plan (Pennsylvania is the other).

WNIJ fans know this is the place to learn about literature from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. And you know we maintain a growing archive of author interviews and readings.

But if you're a hard-core listener, a true WNIJ nerd, you'll want even more information to satisfy your craving for content.

This post is for you.

This week, WNIJ begins airing promos for the Winter Book Series. You can take a sneak "listen" by clicking the three audio links below:

This is a story about a meeting that was supposed to happen today, but didn't, for an arguably good reason:

House Speaker Michael Madigan needed to attend a funeral for his father-in-law, and the memorial service was out of state.

The meeting would've been the first between Madigan, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the other legislative leaders since the end of May. The group hasn't met since then to talk about the budget, or anything else really.

This month, WNIJ will feature four books that belong on your shelf or e-reader. Three of them are by Illinois authors. One was written by an Iowa resident who used to work for Northern Public Radio.

The Winter Book Series will air Mondays in December during Morning Edition, and appear in our Book Series archive.

U.S. House Republicans continue searching for their next Speaker amid a very public family fight. The battle to succeed John Boehner is between established caucus members, who occasionally compromise with Democrats, and those who refuse all cooperation across the aisle.

This feud could've resulted in another government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. But observers say Boehner's resignation put off any talk of a shutdown for now.

Maria Boynton

After selecting the winners for our "Three-Minute Fiction" contest, our judge picked a handful of Honorable Mentions.

Pushcart Prize-winning author GK Wuori issued our prompt last month and chose his five favorite stories out of more than 100 submissions. We broadcast the winners during Morning Edition. Wouri then selected five other writers who also got to record their stories in our studios.

Here are our videos of the five Honorable Mention authors: