Jessica Penner, a 2001 EMU alum, will be the featured guest for the next Writers Read Series on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m., in EMU's Common Grounds Coffeehouse in University Commons. (Photo provided by Jessica Penner)

EMU alum next featured Writers Read author

Jessica Penner, a 2001 Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) alumna, will be the next featured “Writers Read Author,” on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m., in EMU’s Common Grounds Coffeehouse in University Commons.

Penner released her debut novel-in-stories, Shaken in the Water (Foxhead Books), in April 2013.

“The reality of the world Jessica Penner creates in Shaken in the Water is never quite what it appears to be: love can so swiftly shift-shape into hatred, rage into compassion, understanding into rejection and longing,” said Rudy Wiebe, a Canadian Mennonite author. “But for the reader there is always the voice calling, ‘Herein!’ – ‘Come in!’”

Penner has been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Center for Mennonite Writing, Rhubarb and the anthology Tongue Screws and Testimonies. She won an honorable mention for the short story “Homebody” in Open City’s RRofihe Trophy contest and an honorable mention for the essay “Mustard Seed” in Bellevue Literary Review’s Burns Archive Prize for nonfiction.

“Mustard Seed” was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

“In both story and memoir forms, Jessica’s voice is unflinchingly confessional,” said Kirsten Beachy, assistant professor of English at EMU. “As she reveals the hidden moments of her character’s lives at her reading, you may begin to wonder whether she knows your secrets, too.”

Penner earned a BA in theater and English at EMU and a MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She previously taught English to international students at James Madison University and currently resides in New York City.

For more information on Penner visit the Foxhead Books website.

More information

Sign-language interpretation is available upon request. Admission is free but a donation is encouraged.