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CONTACT: JENNY BURMAN
CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail:winston-barclay@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Novelist Allan Gurganus will give a reading Dec. 6

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Allan Gurganus, author of the best-selling and award-winning novel "The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" will read from his most recent novel, "Plays Well With Others," at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 at Shambaugh Auditorium in the University of Iowa Main Library. The reading, which is sponsored by the UI Writers' Workshop, is free and open to the public.

A graduate of the Writers' Workshop, Gurganus describes his own work in this way: "I write the funniest books possible about the worst things that can happen to people."

His recently published "Plays Well With Others" describes in comic terms a New York City community losing its friends and partners to AIDS in the early days of the epidemic.

Michiko Kakutani, praising the book in her New York Times review, writes: "Allan Gurganus' moving new novel takes the traditional form of the bildungsroman and gives it a tragic twist: its youthful protagonists' loss of innocence -- and achievement of wisdom -- is accompanied by the knowledge of almost certain death. . . . We are given a glimpse of that magical metropolis, magnet to the young, the daring, the talented and the adventuresome, an infinitely romantic place where dreams can be realized (and crushed) and people can invent themselves anew."

The author has been hailed as the heir to William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. John Cheever called him "the most technically gifted and historically responsive writer of his generation."

Gurganus' first published story (1972) was also the New Yorker magazine's first acceptance of a work of fiction depicting a homosexual character. Years later, with his completion of "The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," the author proceeded to win a wide, mainstream readership and fame as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for fiction. It was adapted by NBC into a television movie.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's response to "The Oldest Living Confederate Widow" was: "Those of us who haven't yet read this astonishing first novel should immediately commence doing so, leaving those of us who already have experienced the book to start rereading."

Gurganus' collection of short stories, "White People," which explores the place of white people in a changing world, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction as well as the Southern Book Award for Best Fiction from the Southern Book Critics' Circle.

The author's work has appeared in publications including Granta, The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Antaeus and the Paris Review.

11/21/97