Summer Book Series Author to Accept Top Award

May 7, 2014

Barrie Jean Borich

(Updated May 26)

This week, one of our Summer Book Series authors will accept a gold medal for her latest work, a creative memoir. Barrie Jean Borich will be honored Wednesday by the Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPYs, for Body Geographic. The book is the third installment of WNIJ's series which airs next month.

The series begins June 6, when Rockford native Gary Lawrence joins me to discuss Baffled, his first collection of short fiction. Many of these stories are set in Rockford or Winnebago County, with two taking place at West High School during the 1970s.

Readers will find familiar sights and people in Lawrence's book.

They include On the Waterfront, an aerospace company he calls "Sundstrom" and a beloved teacher who taught a class called "Ideas of Man."

The following Friday I'll talk with Joseph Gastiger about his first collection of poems called Loose Talk. Gastiger is a pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeKalb.

Fellow poet John Bradley says Gastiger's poems take us to "the corner of Memory and Desire" and feature a diverse cast, including Commander Cody, Snow White and Kurt Vonnegut.

On June 20, I interview Chicagoan Barrie Jean Borich about Body Geographic.

This book borrows images of maps and tattoos to chart Borich's journey of self-discovery from the steel mills of her South Side childhood to the "prairie college town" of Champaign, to Minneapolis, hometown of her spouse Linnea.

Borich is also nominated for a Lambda Book Award, or LAMMY, which recognizes LGBT authors. That awards ceremony is June 2.

On June 27, Robert Hellenga returns to WNIJ to discuss his newest book, to be released in July.

The Confessions of Frances Godwin is the fictional memoir of a retired high school Latin teacher. The story moves between Illinois and Italy during various times in Godwin's life. After her husband dies, she begins a series of conversations with God, who takes a sudden interest in her life.

Hellenga was featured during the 2013-14 Winter Book Series.

The Summer Book Series airs Fridays in June during Morning Edition on WNIJ. Listen in on our conversations after NPR news at 6:30 and 8:30. Then come back here for author readings and other information. 

While waiting for the series to begin, enjoy this jingle created by DeKalb musicians Bill Leighly and Erica Ensign: