Wednesday, June 11, 2008

UIS graduate signs copies of new book on campus

By Courtney Westlake

UIS hosted a book signing with award-winning author Carol Manley on Wednesday evening, June 11, in the Public Affairs Center restaurant. Manley signed copies of her latest novel, Church Booty, which was a runner-up for the third annual Tartts Fiction Award.

Manley is a 2003 graduate of UIS and received her master's degree in English. She is currently a guest editor of the People's Poetry column in Illinois Times.

In 2006, Manley won a $7,000 Illinois Arts Council fellowship, as well as first place, third place, and seven honorable mentions in the categories of literary/mainstream short fiction and non-rhyming poetry in a contest sponsored by Writer's Digest.

Church Booty is Manley's second story. After her daughter got in a car accident a few years ago, and then Manley became involved in a couple of churches, these experiences led her to develop the characters and plot in Church Booty, she said.

Manley feels Church Booty could have easily been the winner of the Tartts Fiction Award, but, as evidence of her strong writing, it is the first time that the editors published the runner-up novel in addition to the winner.

"I've come in second to stories I haven't thought were as good as mine, but they're more dignified," Manley said. "But they've never done this before, never published the runner-up."

Manley said she has heard from her publisher that the people working on editing and publishing the book have enjoyed reading it. And to her credit, there was nothing they changed in the book, she said.

There have been delays in the book's release, but that didn't stop UIS professor emerita and Manley's mentor Dr. Jackie Jackson from organizing the book signing on Wednesday.

"It's exciting. It's all Jackie Jackson; she put it all together and pressured me," Manley laughed. "I'm really surprised and happy to see all these people. I think that people really like the book."

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