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Novelist Robert Grindy to visit for Writers@Monmouth series

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College students will have an opportunity to interact with novelist Robert Grindy as part of the College’s Writers@Monmouth series.

A longtime professor at Richland Community College in Decatur, Ill., Grindy will be read from his debut mystery novel, Iced, published in December by Livingston Press. Free and open to the public, the reading will be held at 4:30 p.m. March 12 in the Mellinger Teaching and Learning Center.

Sponsored by the English Department, Grindy’s campus visit will also feature a class visit with creative writers and an interview with student editors from COIL, the campus’ literary arts magazine.

“It’s great, once again, to have a writer on campus who is making art from this place in the world,” said Monmouth Assistant Professor of English David Wright. “Students have really enjoyed reading the novel and will glean some real wisdom, and humor, from an experienced teacher like Robert.”

The often bewildered protagonist in Iced draws on Grindy’s career as a writing and literature teacher as he twists and reshapes the character’s experience through a wry and generous dose of self-deprecation.

“As a creative writing professor myself, I recognize this writer and his students, all struggling to make sense of their lives through stories,” Wright said. “Robert’s handling of a professor who pilfers a storyline from a student who has died is both troubling and hilarious. I think Iced shows what a mingling of literary and mystery fiction can do, drawing strength from both genres.”

Kirkus Reviews described Iced as “entertainingly unpredictable ... both realistic and hilarious” and praised Grindy’s sense of place and his playfulness with the conventions of the mystery genre, calling the novel “an offbeat thriller with a greenhorn detective who categorically defies convention.”

A native Californian who has spent much of his life studying, teaching and writing in the Midwest, Grindy’s fiction and non-fiction reflect his ongoing concern with, in his words, “questions of place and the stories we tell ourselves. What happens when the story you have conceived of your life doesn’t match the reality? How can you make sense of strangers’ stories when they float momentarily through your own?”

His short stories and essays have appeared in several publications, including Fiction Southeast, Copper Nickel, Illinois Times and The Saturday Evening Post.