Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UIS English Professor Meagan Cass wins award for her story collection

Meagan Cass, assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois Springfield, has won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for her story collection "ActivAmerica”. Her work will be published by the University of North Texas Press in November 2017.

“I’m thrilled to join the UNT press community,” said Cass. “The fact that Claire Vaye Watkins was the prize judge makes this even more meaningful as she is one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers.”

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.

At UIS, Cass is a co-curator of the Shelterbelt Reading Series and edits Shelterbelt Books with her colleague Adam Clay. She also serves as an assistant editor for Sundress Publications. She is the author of the chapbook "Range of Motion" (Magic Helicopter Press), and her short fiction has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Pinch, DIAGRAM, Joyland, and Puerto del Sol, among other places.

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.

Cass holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

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