Greg Hrbek April 4

Author of Destroy all Monsters

They shouted his name in unison. When they reached the sunroom, they saw him bounding out the door. Upper half, human half, twisted in their direction; a look of joy and terror in the infant’s eyes. But the equine part would not stop…

—From “Sagittarius” by Greg Hrbek

Parents must learn to accept the people their children are, as opposed to the people they wish them to be. A difficult lesson — all the more so when that child is a centaur.

In “Sagittarius,” author Greg Hrbek follows Isabel and Martin, a young couple frantically searching the dark woods for Sebastian, their missing newborn — who is either a child with profound birth defects or a miraculous, mythological creature.

Selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009, “Sagittarius” is the first of 10 stories featured in Destroy All Monsters, Hrbek’s latest collection.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, April 4, Hrbek will read from his work for The Writing Program in Arts & Sciences.

The free talk — presented as part of program’s spring Reading Series — will begin at 8 p.m. in Hurst Lounge, Room 201, Duncker Hall. A reception and book signing immediately will follow.

For more information, call (314) 935-7428.

A Skidmore College faculty member since 2001, Hrbek is the author of The Hindenburg Crashes Nightly (1999), which won the James Jones First Novel Award. “Sagittarius” received the 2007 Black Warrior Review Fiction Prize while Destroy All Monsters won the 2010 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction from the University of Nebraska Press.

Hrbek’s short stories have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Conjunctions, Sonora Review and Salmagundi, among others, and have been short-listed for the O. Henry Prize and the Bridport Prize.

Other honors include an Iowa Arts Fellowship from the University of Iowa; a James A. Michener Fellowship; and an Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University.

Hrbek lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.