Flash Fiction Writer Brings Body Horror and Insight into Writing to SIUE Via Virtual Events | Lifestyles


Meg Cass, writer, editor and associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been invited by SIUE’s English department to host two virtual events this week, a lecture and a conference on the crafts focused on body horror.

Cass specializes in horror and writes primarily in flash fiction, a style of writing traditionally defined as works of less than 1,000 words. They said flash fiction often works well with body horror, a horror subgenre that seeks to portray disturbing images in the human body.

“I was talking to a coworker about this recently, we were thinking about why flash fiction is really useful for using elements of horror in fiction,” Cass said. “Maybe it has something to do with how flash fiction has a twist or twist at the end of how we associate with a horror story or horror movie.”

English teacher Geoff Schmidt was the faculty member who invited Cass to speak to SIUE students via virtual events.

“[Cass is] really gender savvy; fairy tales, horror, sci-fi, they also play a lot with kind of genre mashups, ”Schmidt said. “Everything is always very character-oriented and prose-oriented, but the idea of ​​genre and what [they] can do in different genres always seems to hide in the margins.

Cass said they value body horror as a subgenre for the way it helps people think about repressed emotions, trauma, and how both manifest in the body.

“There are so many possibilities in horror and I think it’s a really exciting time right now as we’re starting to see more queer people, more women, more people of color working in the sub-genre. and off-center the more cliché stock tropes, ”Cass said.

Cass worked with three friends to create a queer reading series called “Changeling” which will resume in January, featuring queer writers from the St. Louis area, and has expressed interest in having the creative writing students at SIUE join the program.

“We’re really excited to be able to create a space for queer writing in the city and to bring people together to support this work,” Cass said.

Valerie Vogrin, professor in the English department, said those who love to read, whatever their specialty, may find pleasure in attending events featuring guest writers.

“I’d like to think of it as a way for students to connect with that kind of creative side of themselves and that side of themselves that likes to read, or likes to read, or is just curious about. know what writers are, ”Vogrin said.

While there haven’t been any plans yet, Vogrin is looking to invite another author to campus in the spring.

Schmidt said he hopes the guest writers will nurture a sense of community for the writers and students of SIUE.

“I think we were worried about what happens to a community of writers in the event of a pandemic when so many of our experiences are posted online. It hasn’t always been easy for everyone, it’s easier to feel isolated and not part of a community, ”said Schmidt. “We really hope to nurture that sense of community through the isolation of the pandemic.”

The virtual tour consists of two events, one talk about crafts November 9 at 2 p.m. and a reading fiction November 11 at 7 p.m. The Craft Lecture will discuss body horror in more depth and give students the chance to write a short article during the virtual sessions.


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