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Professor compiling steelworker stories for a book

Author and University of Arizona lecturer Gloria McMillan is seeking submissions for "Children of Steel." She'll visit Whiting on Oct. 9.

An East Chicago native who went on to become an author and professor is seeking submissions for her forthcoming book, "Children of Steel: A Collection of Short Stories."

University of Arizona lecturer Gloria McMillan hopes Northwest Indiana residents will contribute "fictional short stories set in steel mill towns" that are fewer than 20 single-spaced pages.

"The writers must have some personal contact with a steel mill or industrial town," she said. "We hope to show the wider reading public what people from steel mill towns are like. This is very important for children in schools who often have no models among writers of fiction."

She's planning a public meeting for anyone interested at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Whiting Public Library, 1735 Oliver St.

McMillan, who wrote "The Blue Maroon Murder" and "Orbiting Ray Bradbury's Mars," is asking for fiction submissions, but says they can be autobiographical in nature. So far, she's collected short stories from writers in Gary, Whiting, East Chicago, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio.

"This collection of stories shows that fiction is a way that people from steel mill communities can share fiction based upon lives that they and their parents, grandparents have known. In some of the stories in this collection, the steel mills are highlighted," she wrote in a letter to publishers.

"In other stories, the mills may only be a constant part of the surroundings and a backdrop. But in all cases, these are fictional short stories that only can come from those with direct experience of being the children of steel."

She hopes to give voice to a growing number of Rust Belt authors.

For more information or to submit, email McMillan at


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.