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Award-winning alumna reads short story

| Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday, the Creative Writing Program hosted a reading in the Hammes Bookstore by alumna Emily Grecki, recipient of the 2014 Nicholas Sparks Prize and nominee for the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Intro Journals Project.

In the introduction for her former student, English professor Valerie Sayers said Grecki has a talent for surprising her readers and is a “devious writer who likes to set off land mines in fields of clover.”

Sayers said the merit of Grecki’s work is in its unique narrative style, where “scene becomes concept and satire morphs into sympathy without the reader realizing quite when or how everything changed.”

Grecki said she has been interested in writing since she was a child.

“It started with poems, and then I was interested in stories,” she said. “There’s just so many worlds there to explore.”

Winning the Sparks fellowship has allowed Grecki to take the year off to write. One of the projects she has undertaken is editing the short stories she produced for her master’s thesis at Notre Dame, Grecki said.

She said she has also added several stories to her collection, including the story, “Clear Path,” which she presented at the reading.

The story, which alternates between the first person perspectives of a romantically involved couple, follows the trajectory of the couple’s relationship. The story also relate the couple’s amusing interactions with the man’s pet parakeet, Milo.

“People think it’s weird when a man owns a bird,” the male protagonist says.

“Milo is not just a bird,” the man asserts. “He understands me.”

The inspiration for her story, Grecki said, originated from the collection of short stories, “Animal Crackers,” by Hannah Tinti. Grecki said her experience writing the stories, as well as editing her entire collection, has proved both challenging and rewarding.

“It’s about not getting discouraged,” she said. “Something that may seem terrible today may become something you can use tomorrow.”

Grecki said she enjoys fiction writing because of its multifaceted nature.

“The language aspect in itself is really exciting — coming up with the perfect phrase and rhythm and sound,” she said.  “And then the other part is the story itself, the content where I go into real and surreal worlds, which I think are great to explore.”

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