Thursday event features quirky fiction writers Bess Winter, Woody Skinner

KEARNEY – Fiction writers Bess Winter and Woody Skinner will be featured 7 p.m. Thursday during a virtual event hosted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney Department of English.

Bess Winter
Bess Winter

The authors will share their work through Zoom as part of UNK’s Reynolds Visiting Writers Series. The free event can be accessed at

Although Winter compares her hobbies to “an old lady’s life” – gardening, knitting, collecting vintage dolls – her writing is far from mundane.

“This is not your grandmother’s historical fiction,” said UNK Reynolds Chair of Poetry Brad Modlin, who describes her stories as “research plus quirk.”

Winter has written about dolls, mummies, taxidermy, death, horse tails, stolen eggs, Victorians, primates, private school girls, daguerreotypes, gas leaks and other topics. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, the Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ecotone and W.W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International, and she’s been awarded a Pushcart Prize and American Short(er) Fiction Prize.

Woody Skinner
Woody Skinner

A native of Toronto, Canada, Winter has received fellowships and scholarships from Yaddo and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her debut collection, “Machines of Another Era,” was recently published by Gold Wake Press.

Winter is an assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, where she’s editor-in-chief of Bluestem.

Skinner grew up in Batesville, Arkansas, and earned a Master of Fine Arts from Wichita State University and a doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. He works as an instructional designer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

A Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award winner, Skinner’s work has appeared in the Mid-American Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Hobart, Booth and Another Chicago Magazine. His book, “A Thousand Distant Radios,” was published in 2017.

“Skinner’s characters are cows. Or a young couple giving birth to a fish. Or people who, like many of us, watch TV to avoid difficult conversations,” Modlin said. “He finds the sweet spot between strange and Tuesday.”