An Evening at Richard Hugo House

When Jenny Forrester got the news that she’d won the prestigious 2010-11 Hugo Literary Series essay competition, themed “Born in the U.S.A.,” she was both thrilled and humbled. Never before had her work won an award, even though she’s had her writerly nose to the grindstone for several years.

The victory also meant another first: giving a public reading, that of her winning essay, “A Trailer Trash Republican Childhood,” to a room full of Seattle’s discerning writerly elite, among them such notable names as Perma Red author Debra Magpie Earling, New York novelist Victor Lavalle, Seattle rapper Khingz, and poet/artist Alan Chong Lau.

Jenny, it was said after the reading, completely blew the crowd away.

Pictured here is another Jenny—Seattle-based writer and fellow Penduline Issue 1 contributor Jenny Hayes (“Saturday”).  She was among those in the audience that evening.  Her reaction? “We were all so excited for Jenny, ready to cheer her on no matter how it went. And she killed it! Her reading was amazing — the audience was spellbound at all the bittersweet and hard places, but then she would bust out with some funny observation and everyone would crack up. When she finished, there was a split-second pause and then a thunder of applause. She did us all proud.”

We’re honored to feature Jenny Forrester’s noir fictions “Undocumented” and “A Compatibilist Woman:  Crime and Poetry” in our first issue of Penduline.