Mid-State Communication Instructor Jill Sisson Quinn with her recently published nonfiction essay collection “Sign Here If You Exist.”

Nonfiction collection by Mid-State instructor sees publication

November 4, 2020

Mid-State Technical College Communication Instructor Jill Sisson Quinn’s book “Sign Here If You Exist” was published this August by Mad Creek Books, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press. The nonfiction collection was chosen last fall for the annual The Journal Non/Fiction Collection Prize for a book-length collection of short stories, essays or a combination of the two. In addition to publication, Quinn also received a $1,500 cash prize for her winning submission. 

 “Sign Here If You Exist” is a collection of essays that combine natural history and memoir, taking us along on treks through forests, along shorelines and into lakes and rivers as well as through memories and into the scientific literature, according to Quinn. Each essay explores the alikeness of two or more seemingly disparate things in its attempt to understand the human world by attuning to the natural world.

“My own interest in submitting my work for publication and to contests has led me, along with the communication faculty at Mid-State, to bring in two published writers each year to judge our own Write on the Money Contest,” said Quinn. “I love seeing my students excited about submitting their personal essays and research papers for these established writers to consider.”

In addition to teaching communication classes to students across Mid-State’s programs, Quinn’s teaching assignments include creative writing and introduction to literature courses for students enrolled in the College’s Liberal Arts-University Transfer programs.

“We’re all incredibly proud of Jill for her latest achievement,” said Mid-State’s Vice President of Academics Dr. Deb Stencil.  “More than a feather in her cap, her publication is a reminder of the world-class quality of Mid-State’s teaching faculty and the valuable experience they bring to the classroom every day.” 

Quinn is also the author of “Deranged: Finding a Sense of Place in the Landscape and in the Lifespan” (2010), published by Apprentice House Press of Loyola College, Maryland. Her essays have appeared in Orion, Natural History, OnEarth Magazine, and many literary journals and have been selected for “Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011" and “Best American Essays 2016.” Her numerous awards include the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction, a John Burroughs Nature Essay Award, and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ award. 

Over the course of its forty-year history, The Journal has published prominent writers such as Carl Phillips, Mary Jo Bang, John D’Agata and many others. With a mission to foster creativity, innovate and illuminate, Mad Creek Books champions diverse and creative literary writing.

Learn more about Quinn and her writing on her website at jillsissonquinn.com. To learn more about Mid-State’s University Transfer Liberal Arts degree programs, visit mstc.edu/transfer