Jason Knight will defend his creative writing dissertation, Let Fall A Stocking ("Intimacy & Complicity: The
PhD graduate Meagan Cass, currently Assistant Professor of English at University of Illinois-Springfield, has won this year's Katherine Anne Porter prize for her manuscript ActivAmerica. The collection will be published in November of 2017 by University of North Texas Press. Notable contemporary fiction writer Claire Vaye Watkins was the prize judge.
Drawing from fairy tales, ghost stories, and science-fiction, the stories in ActivAmerica explore how we confront (and exert) power, re-imagine ourselves, and form communities on soccer fields and hidden lakes, in overgrown backyards and across ping-pong tables. A group of girls start an illicit hockey league in a conservative suburb. A recently separated woman must run a mile a day in order to maintain her new corporate health insurance. Children impacted by environmental disaster create a “mutant soccer team.” Throughout the collection, athletic risk comes with unexpected, often unsettling results.
Her work has previously been honored in SmokeLong Quarterly’s 10th anniversary “best of” print anthology in 2013 and on Dan Chaon’s Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions of the Year list in 2012. She also won the University of Illinois-Springfield College of Liberal Arts and Sciences teaching award for 2015-16.