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A Couple Of Writers

The husband and wife team of Chuck Rybak and Rebecca Meacham might not agree with the adage that says opposites attract.

Date: 2/18/2005
By: Billie Dziech
Phone: 513/556.1707
The husband and wife team of Chuck Rybak and Rebecca Meacham might not agree with the adage that says opposites attract. Both recent PhD graduates of McMicken's
English department teach at branch campuses of the University of Wisconsin, and -- most important -- both are prize winning authors.

Meacham, an assistant professor of English and women's studies and director of the creative writing program at Wisconsin's Green Bay branch, won the 2004 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in fiction for her short story collection “Let's Do.” The book is a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great Writers” selection for spring 2005. In addition to appearing in several journals, her stories have won the 2002 “Indiana Review” Fiction Prize and the 2002 “Chelsea” Award for Short Fiction. Her work is also a 2005 nominee for a Pushcart Prize.

“Let's Do” was written in part while Meacham was on a Taft Advanced Student
Scholarship, and responses to the work have been much like that of one of the judges of the Porter award:“Rebecca Meacham has one of the freshest voices I've encountered in a long time. This is a writer whose words speak with emotional resonance about the resilience of the human heart -- a beautiful, authentic talent who knows that when you turn life upside down, you get good measures of both trouble and laughter, a lesson the very best writers recognize early.”

Meacham attributes much of her success to her “warm and brilliant advisors, mentors, and comrades at UC.” She adds, “It sounds cliché, but honestly, my courses and experiences at UC opened my mind. And this book could not have been written without the support of the Taft Fellowship, so I am forever grateful to the Taft Foundation.”

Rybak, an assistant professor of English and director of the writing center at the University of Wisconsin-Washington County, has a similar response to his university experience: “I am forever grateful for the guidance of my professors who really went out of their way to help me and take an interest in what I was doing.”

With Stephen Frech, another English graduate, Rybak co-edits Oneiros Press, which specializes in publication of poetry broadsides. But his own poetry is what occupies him most, and if awards are predictors of publishing success, Rybek's future holds as much promise as his wife's. His first chapbook, “Nickel and Diming My Way Through,” won the 2004 Quentin R. Howard prize through Wind Press and will be published in 2005. Two previous McMicken graduates, Dina Ben-Lev and Beth Gylys, have also been recipients of the honor.

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