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


Jane Byrne was Chicago's first and only female mayor. Her daughter Kathy says her mother died Thursday at a hospice in Chicago at age 81.

Dan Klefstad

Ernest Hemingway. Joyce Carol Oates. John Updike. Annie Proulx.

These are just some of the writers whose work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, an anthology of the best fiction published during a calendar year.

Dan Klefstad

This week WNIJ is highlighting shorter literary works from northern Illinois authors. Today, we welcome back Susan Azar Porterfield, who has two new poems in the Barrow Street Journal. Poems appearing in this journal often have been selected for the Best American Poetry anthology, including works by former poet laureate Billy Collins.

This Autumn, WNIJ again invites northern Illinois authors to read, and discuss, their stories. Recently, a trio of writers published shorter works that add to the growing body of quality literature from this area. To showcase these quick reads, we created our first-ever "Fall Book Bites" series. We'll welcome back Susan Azar Porterfield and Molly McNett during the next two days. Today, we'll meet G.K. Wuori, author of Infidelity, a novella.

Wikipedia | www.twitter.com/brucerauner

Democrat Pat Quinn is among nearly a dozen governors at risk of losing their jobs this election. Reasons vary from state to state, but Quinn continues to be dogged by persistent unemployment, low credit ratings, and the worst-funded pension system in the nation. His Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner, began attacking Quinn on these issues before the March primary.


Many political scientists sign up for candidate email alerts, which can reveal clues about a campaign's confidence level. NIU's Matt Streb doesn't sign up for these emails, but Bill Foster's campaign sent him one anyway -- right after his 2012 victory in Illinois' 11th Congressional District.

UPDATE, 10/30/14

The man behind the recording that sparked the resignation of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos' top staffer has been identified. He's Austin Quick, a seminary student who worked for Bustos' opponent Bobby Schilling during his 2010 campaign. Quick is also a Northern Illinois University graduate who served as a Student Association Senator. He had a hand in several Republican candidates' campaigns, including State Representative Tom Demmer and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. 


In 2012, Democrat Cheri Bustos unseated incumbent Bobby Schilling in Illinois' 17th Congressional District. Schilling, a Republican, won two years earlier during a national wave of Tea Party-backed upsets.


Illinois' 16th Congressional District resembles the 14th in a couple of ways, according to Matt Streb. The political scientist notes Democratic map-makers packed IL-16 with Republican voters in order to increase the number of Democrats in neighboring districts.


The race in Illinois' 14th Congressional District is a do-over between Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren and Democratic challenger Dennis Anderson. In 2012, Anderson got 41% of the vote, a margin that surprised NIU political scientist Matt Streb.