Brown Bag Lunch Discussion: What Makes a Story “Work’? – Postponed, New Date TBD

When: Monday, March 23, 12pm-1pm
Where: Midwest Writing Center (401 19th St. Rock Island, IL 61201, ground floor of the Rock Island Public Library)
Cost: Free and open to the public

Back by popular demand! Brown Bag Lunch Discussions are hour-long sessions featuring local personalities and prominent figures from the artistic, cultural, historical, educational, and media sectors to present a range of topics that audiences can both enjoy and engage in via question and answer sessions that will follow each presentation. Seniors and retirees, second shift employees, and the general public will be able to access and learn about local history and culture in an engaging, entertaining, and educational format.

Our next event on Monday, March 23 will feature a panel of writers and readers looking at what makes a story “work”–here’s a full description:

Fiction writers Misty Urban and Tom McKay and expert reader Cindy Johnson will discuss what makes a story “work.” Is it character? Plot? Voice? Some mystical combination thereof? And when is a story not a story but an anecdote, vignette, or something else? Readers and writers of all sorts are welcome to join the conversation.

Books by McKay and Urban will be available for purchase at the event. Event is free & open to the public.

Brown Bag Discussions are held in the MWC offices on the ground floor of the Rock Island Public Library (410 19th St. Rock Island), and are free and open to everyone. Bring your lunch and join us for an invigorating discussion!

If you have any questions, call Ryan Collins at 309-732-7330 or email at


Cindy Johnson grew up in Moline with a love of the written word. Some of her first possessions were cherished books. Now as a wife, mother, retired nurse and grandmother to two of “God’s Greatest Grandchildren”, Aiden and Blake, reading is still one of her most enjoyable pastimes. She tells her grandsons, “reading can take you anywhere”!

Tom McKay has been writing fiction for more than two decades. The Midwest Writing center published his recent novel, The Old Guard. He is also the author of the novels West Fork (East Hall Press, 2014) and Another Life (918studio Press, 2016). His short stories have appeared in Vermont Ink, the Wapsipinicon Almanac, Downstate Story, the Out Loud Anthology, HyperText Literary Magazine, and So It Goes, the literary journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. He formerly worked as an historian and museum consultant.

Misty Urban has been writing stories since she was 8 and still isn’t sure she’s doing it right. Nevertheless she’s been fortunate to have published two collections, A LESSON IN MANNERS and THE NECESSARIES, and more recent stories in Sweet Tree Review, Write Out Publishing, Talking River, and the Writer’s Block, published by the MWC.

This event is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Illinois Arts Council Agency.