Plymouth State University faculty member Katherine Min is making her mark in literary circles. The Oct. 23 issue of the New Yorker magazine reviewed Min’s novel Secondhand World, which details the coming-of-age of a Korean immigrant girl.
“This disquieting debut novel begins likes a murder mystery … The story that follows, however, is less an investigation than an exorcism,” read the New Yorker review. “The writing is exquisite, and exacting.”
Min is excited to garner positive comments for Secondhand World. “Writing a novel requires a lot of time working alone in a room, and you don’t know if anyone is going to read what you’ve written,” she said. “So to have people reading the book, talking about my characters as though they were real people, is very gratifying. I don’t think it gets much better than that for a writer.”
Min’s short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review and Prairie Schooner, and have been widely anthologized, most recently in The Pushcart Book of Stories: The Best Short Stories from a Quarter-Century of The Pushcart Prize.
Min was awarded N.H. Arts Council fellowships in 2004 and 1995, and in 1992 received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received six fellowships to the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H.; a residency at Ledig House, in Ghent, N.Y.; a Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fellowship at the Millay Colony, in Austerlitz, N.Y., and has been named a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee (Tenn.) Writers Conference. In addition to teaching at PSU, Min also teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.—Bruce Lyndes
Driving through My Day Gig (Sandstorm Records, 2006) is the latest recording from Rik Pfenninger, Plymouth State University professor of music and director of jazz studies and music technology. Pfenninger plays woodwinds on this collection of smooth jazz and mellow Latin tunes. Also appearing on the CD are PSU faculty members Tom Robinson (piano) and Don Williams (bass), as well as Mike Davison (trumpet), Craig Jaster (piano), and Jon Barnes (bass).
Jazz Improv magazine says Pfenninger’s music conveys “… tranquility, friendship, a sense of wonder,” while Jam Music magazine has noted: “Pfenninger can play a familiar melody in a beautifully simple way and then turn around and rip through an elaborate improvisation. This is a completely enjoyable experience.”—Marcia L. Santore
English Professor Named New Hampshire Artist Fellow
Author Joseph Monninger, associate professor of English at Plymouth State University, has received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the state of New Hampshire. Fellowships are awarded annually for artistic excellence and professional commitment, as judged by peers in each artist’s field.
Monninger was one of six fellows chosen from 90 applicants. He will receive $5,000 as a member of the 2007 class of Artist Fellows.
“The award indicates Professor Monninger’s high stature in his field and is a fine recognition of his substantial accomplishments,” said PSU President Sara Jayne Steen.
“It’s especially sweet to receive this award in a state I love,” said Monninger. “I’m grateful to the people of New Hampshire.”
Monninger started writing during a three-year stint in the Peace Corps in Africa after graduating from Temple University. He then worked as a freelance writer, selling his stories and non-fiction pieces to major magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Glamour, Readers Digest, American Heritage, McCalls, RedBook, and Ellery Queen. His nine novels have been published by Athenaeum, Scribner’s, Simon and Schuster, Thorndike Press, Steerforth, D.I. Fine, and Random House.
Monninger has recently turned toward creative nonfiction. Two of his memoirs have been widely praised by reviewers: Home Waters: Fishing with an Old Friend (Broadway Books, 1999) and Barn in New England: Making a Home on Three Acres (Chronicle Books, 2001). His most recent book is Two Ton: One Night, One Fight—Tony Galento v. Joe Louis (Steerforth Press, 2006).
Monninger’s previous awards include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a Booksense Award for Home Waters. He has worked for many years with the New Hampshire Writers Project and the New Hampshire Humanities Council, and lectures frequently. —Bruce Lyndes
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