Professor’s Award-Winning Stories Are Lutheran Book Club Selection
SELINSGROVE, (Pa.)—A prize-winning collection of stories by Gary Fincke, the Charles B. Degenstein Professor of English and Creative Writing at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., has been selected as a 2009 Book Club selection by the Lutheran Writers Project. “Sorry I Worried You” (University of Georgia Press), winner of the 2004 Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction, is featured on the organization’s Web site, along with a study guide and interview with Fincke.
Booklist gave “Sorry” high marks. “Combining quirky dialogue, vivid details, and small moments of epiphany, Fincke keeps his readers both intrigued and off balance. His characters are a bundle of seeming contradictions and complications, often plagued by chronic ailments and a sense of loss,” says its review on Amazon.com.
“The characters who interest me most are those in need of at least some redemption, however small,” Fincke said in an interview with the Lutheran Writers Project Newsletter. “The best stories remain mysteries for me until I near the end. All of these stories, I hope, surprise the reader in some way.”
Fincke is director of the Writers Institute at Susquehanna, a national liberal arts college that was founded by Lutherans in 1858. He has published 21 books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction, including “Amp’d” (Michigan State, 2004), an account of his son’s life as the guitarist for the well-known rock band Breaking Benjamin. His most recent book, “The Fire Landscape” (Arkansas, 2008), is a collection of poems that won the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Fincke’s next book, “The Canals of Mars” (Michigan State), is a full-length memoir. An essay version of “The Canals of Mars” won a Pushcart Prize and was subsequently reprinted in “The Pushcart Book of Essays: The Best Nonfiction from the First Twenty-Five Years of the Pushcart Prize.”
The Lutheran Writers Book Club originated as part of Called to Create: A Lutheran Festival of Writing, held at Luther College in November 2007. The mission of the festival was to bring together poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction who have been shaped by the Lutheran tradition. The book club’s steering committee recommends four books to readers annually and invites readers’ comments and exchanges with authors online.
Founded in 1858, Susquehanna University is a national liberal arts college that prepares students for achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, interconnected world. Academic excellence, study away and service learning, student-faculty collaboration, and rich opportunities for creative and personal growth are hallmarks of a Susquehanna University education. Susquehanna students come from 30 states and 12 countries, and more than 90 percent of them find jobs or pursue graduate study within six months of graduation. The university is located in central Pennsylvania, in the town of Selinsgrove, along the banks of the scenic Susquehanna River and about three hours from major East Coast cultural, financial and recreational centers. For more information, visit www.susqu.edu.
Karen M. Jones