Alumna’s novel wins national book award

Jaymie Simmon

Jaymie Simmon

“The God Gene,” a satirical thriller by Jaymie Simmon, B.A. ’70, won the 2013 National Indie Excellence Award for Literary Fiction.

The novel was also a finalist in the 2013 Midwest Book Awards for Literary and Contemporary Fiction, and a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award for Fiction.

“Winning an award is exciting, but even more than that, I am humbled and very grateful to have my work recognized by professionals in the field, Simmon wrote on her blog. “Even more than that, I am grateful for wonderful readers, fans and supporters.

Set in Chicago, “The God Gene” centers on Rosalind Evans, a cancer researcher who makes a bizarre genetic discovery that sets off a chain of controversy and conspiracy.

Author Gary W. Moore calls the book “a fast-paced, darkly humorous commentary on American politics, business and media. Simmon’s brilliant first novel is cleverly-crafted; part weird science, part social satire and totally entertaining.”

“Compelling!” adds author James Riordan. “A page-turner that pays off, and an astute allegory for the moral confusion of our times.”

Active members of the NIU community and generous supporters of the university, Jaymie and her husband, Harry Simmon, both graduated from NIU with degrees in speech, with an emphasis in theater.

Cover of “The God Gene” by Jaymie SimmonTheir son, Grant, followed in their footsteps, earning a degree in theater in 2000.

Jaymie Simmon is currently vice chair of the NIU Foundation and also served on a panel that provided input for the university’s Vision 2020 plan. The couple has created scholarships for theater students. They also support a partnership with the Organic Theater in Chicago and were contributors to the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center.

In 2011, the couple made a gift of $25,000 to support the work of five Research Rookies each year. That group is known as Simmons’ Scholars.

Meanwhile, Simmon has promised her readers that a sequel to “The God Gene” is “on the way.”

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