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

Dan Libman

It's almost closing time for our `Politics on Tap' series.  Throughout the summer, author Dan Libman interviewed voters in their neighborhood bars, asking about their political concerns ahead of the election.  After a beer or two they opened up about Obamacare, the economy and redistricting.  Now, with `last call' looming -- at the bars and the polls -- Dan asked the regulars what issues they want the candidates to address.  Read the peoples' opinions in Dan's essay below. 

Dan Libman

This November, citizens will vote on a number of issues. Many of them will also participate in the next open enrollment period under The Affordable Care Act. The ACA, or Obamacare, remains a hot topic for political pundits. But will it motivate voters? For the third time this summer, WNIJ asked author Dan Libman to learn the mood of the electorate. Dan has been interviewing voters in the places they feel most comfortable: their neighborhood bars.

Dan Libman

Want to know what voters really think about politicians and the economy? Ask when they've had a beer or two. For the coming election, WNIJ wanted to go beyond its usual in-depth coverage of the issues and candidates. So we invited Pushcart Prize-winning author Dan Libman to visit taverns and saloons in LaSalle County, an area served by our repeater station WNIW at 91.3 FM. Dan used his iPhone to interview imbibing patrons.

Dan Libman

As we approach the November election, WNIJ decided to go beyond its usual in-depth coverage of the issues and candidates. So we invited Pushcart Prize-winning author Dan Libman to visit places where voters are most likely to speak their minds: their local bars. To close the "distance" of a reporter's microphone, Dan used an iPhone to interview imbibing voters.

"This is the story of a retired high school Latin teacher who murders her son-in-law."

That's what Robert Hellenga wanted on the cover of his latest novel, The Confessions of Frances Godwin.

"I felt it was necessary to give some oomph to the story," Hellenga explains. "Otherwise, the memoir of a retired Latin teacher doesn't sound too exciting."

In less than a week, Barrie Jean Borich won two big awards this spring for her latest book, Body Geographic.

On May 28, her memoir tied for a gold medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPYs. Then on June 2 it won a LAMMY, or Lambda Literary Award, which recognizes LGBT authors.

Northern Public Radio will dedicate the Emmons Memorial Visitor Center in memory of Tim Emmons this Thursday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m.

Northern Illinois University President, Doug Baker, will speak at the dedication. Other speakers will include Vice President of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development, Anne Kaplan, and Northern Public Radio Director and General Manager, Staci Hoste.

A tour of the station will follow at 6:15 p.m.

Dan Klefstad

Joseph Gastiger writes prose poems, a hybrid form that reads like fiction but uses poetic imagery. He prefers writing this type for two reasons.

"I found it made certain stories in my life more available," he says, "rather than break whatever it was I was trying to say into lines."

In an interview with WNIJ, Gastiger said the form allowed his sentences to flow more easily, and led to more surprises. The other reason:

Gary Lawrence is a Rockford native who uses familiar sights and people in his fiction. In Baffled and Other Stories, Lawrence takes us to the "On the Waterfront" and "Summerfest" music festivals.

One of his characters works for an aerospace firm named "Sundstrom" (a nod to his former employer Sundstrand). And two stories are set in Rockford's West High School, now West Middle School, during the early 1970s. 

Dan Klefstad

First an IPPY, now a LAMMY.

Barrie Jean Borich was honored last night in New York City at the 26th annual Lambda Book Awards for her creative memoir, Body Geographic.

Borich's book is featured in WNIJ's Summer Book Series, which airs Friday mornings this month.

Of last night's award, Borich tells WNIJ: