A book club for Siena community members and alumni just had its first gathering to hear a Siena faculty member read from her newly-published short story collection.
Karin Lin-Greenberg, M.F.A., associate professor of English, read from Vanished, recently released by the University of Nebraska Press, at a September 15 event with guests joining in person and via Zoom.
Lin-Greenberg began writing the short stories in 2014, and wrapped up the collection in 2020 “after we were all in a totally different world.” The title denotes that “something is missing or has left each protagonist’s life,” whether that is a relationship, a person, or a way of life. The stories are all set in the fictional upstate New York town of Galaville (like the apple), and feature women or girls who are often overlooked or unseen by those around them.
Vanished is the winner of the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction.
“It was exciting to win this book prize, because it celebrates the form of the short story,” she said. “Siena students study and write short stories and I think many people enjoy reading them, yet the publishing industry tends to support the more marketable form of the novel. I feel lucky to have a new collection of stories out in the world, and to have the chance to discuss them with the Siena community.”
Abigail Waite ’24 is a current student of Lin-Greenberg’s and said she “didn’t know what to expect” when she and her roommate went to the reading.
“The reading sounded interesting to me when I heard about it in class,” said Waite. “As we left the event, my roommate and I both turned to each other and said that we needed to get the book. It’s interesting to think of one of your professors as a published author, and I’m so grateful to have Professor Lin-Greenberg for class.”
Mike Clemens ’15 said Lin-Greenberg was one of his favorite professors when he was an English major at Siena. He attended last week’s reading as an alumnus.
“The stories in Vanished are alive and surprising, full of humor and moments of quiet sadness,” said Clemens. “Karin has given us characters we feel like we know and, in certain moments, we feel like we’ve been — a cast of ordinary people who too often try the wrong ways to get things right. It’s always a treat to hear a writer read their work, but especially when that writer is someone you know personally and admire.”
He credits Lin-Greenberg as an inspiration to earn his M.F.A. after Siena and pursue “the writing life.”
Siena used to host a book club for students and alumni years ago. Mary Kate Weaver ’16, assistant director of alumni engagement, said her team decided it was time to bring it back. The next event will be a virtual meeting on October 20 to give readers the opportunity to discuss Vanished after having a chance to read it. (Copies are available at the Siena library and bookstore.)
Weaver said the faculty-moderated book club will meet once each semester and will be open to everyone. Some meetings will be all virtual; some will have an in-person component as well. Faculty will choose the book to be discussed, which could be a classic work, a new bestseller or a faculty publication.