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New York Times recommends books by UI-connected authors for holidays

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Holiday shoppers whose lists include literature, and who are attracted by the idea of supporting Iowa artists, might want to check out the holiday recommendations in the Dec. 7 issue of the New York Times Book Review. The review, which is part of the Sunday New York Times, recommends many books by authors connected to the University of Iowa, as alumni or as members of the faculty.

The publication's list of "Notable Books of the Year 1997" even includes a volume published by the University of Iowa Press, "Wet Places at Noon" by Lee K. Abbott, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, administered by the UI Writers' Workshop.

The "Editors' Choice" list is headed by the novel "American Pastoral," by former Writers' Workshop faculty member Philip Roth. Workshop faculty member and alumna Jorie Graham, whose "Dream of the Unified Field" won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, is represented on the "Notable Books" list with "The Errancy: Poems."

The list of "Notable Books of the Year 1997 includes numerous other titles by Writers' Workshop graduates: Tess Gallagher's "At the White Owl Woman Saloon," Denis Johnson's "Already Dead: A California Gothic," Robert Coover's "Briar Rose," Suzanne Berne's "A Crime in the Neighborhood," Chris Offutt's "The Good Brother," Bharati Mukherjee's "Leave It to Me," Allan Gurganus' "Plays Well With Others," Steve Lattimore's "Circumnavigation," Kristin Bakis' "Lives of the Monster Dogs," James Hynes' "Publish and Perish," Michelle Huneven's "Round Rock" and Elizabeth McCracken's "The Giant's House." Of those alumni writers, Johnson, Coover and Mukherjee have also returned to the UI as guest faculty members in the workshop.

Other former workshop faculty represented on the "Notable Books" list are Deborah Eisenberg for "All Around Atlantis," Anthony Burgess for "Byrne," Frederick Busch for "Girls," former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass for "Sun Under Wood: New Poems," Kurt Vonnegut for "Timequake," Amy Hempel for "Tumble Home," James Salter for "Burning Days: Recollection," Francine Prose for "Guided Tour of Hell" and Angela Carter for "Burning Your Boats." Honor Moore, who taught last year in the UI English department's literary non-fiction program, made the list with "The White Blackbird."

One former Writers' Workshop faculty member is even the subject of one of the books on the list, "Robert Penn Warren: A Biography" by Joseph Blotner.

The New York Times Book Review's "Noteworthy Collection" of paperbacks for the holidays includes "Tabloid Dreams" by Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler, a graduate of the UI department of theatre arts; and "Good Evening Mr. & Mrs. America, and All the Ships at Sea" by Writers' Workshop graduate Richard Bausch.

12/12/97