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Nina McConigley, Age 8

Nina McConigley was born in Singapore and raised in Wyoming. She earned her MA from the University of Wyoming, and her MFA at the University of Houston. Her short-story collection Cowboys and East Indians was the winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and a High Plains Book Award. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Orion, Salon, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, and The Asian American Literary Review among others. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming and teaches at the University of Wyoming and at the MFA program at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She wrote this story in the fourth grade.

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— Nina McConigley, Age 8

Nina McConigley

“I went to a St. Anthony’s Catholic School, so the bulk of this journal is rather religious writing. But in the midst of essays about Jesus, I wrote this rather violent story about a teacher-eating machine. In 1984, computers were just starting to be a big thing. We did basic word processing in class. I think I was fascinated with machines. That same year I got a rock tumbler for Christmas, and wanted a science lab kit. I also wanted to be an astronaut or a ballerina. I am just going to say this is a story about the dangers of technology. I also was obsessed with Terms of Endearment, which was a big movie that year, so clearly, death was on my mind.”