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Release: Dec. 20, 2000

(NOTE TO EDITORS: A photo of Denis Johnson is posted with the awards story at <http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2000/12/18/bookawards/index.html>.

UI Writers' Workshop alumnus Denis Johnson wins 2000 Salon Book Award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Denis Johnson, an alumnus and recent faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is a winner in the 2000 Salon Book Awards, conferred by the popular e-zine salon.com. Johnson’s novel "The Name of the World" is one of five Salon Book Award winners in fiction.

The Salon citation reads, "This slim, nearly perfect novel is narrated by Michael Reed, a man who has been suspended in a state of grief in the four years since his wife and young daughter were killed in a car crash. He's at the end of a temporary appointment teaching history at a picture-perfect Midwestern university, and it's slowly sinking in that he’s also at the end of his rope. Alternately drifting, stumbling and crashing through the final days of his brief academic career, he decides to start making contact with the people around him, including a raunchy, free-spirited female student who takes him into some unexpected territory.

"Denis Johnson nimbly merges his serious themes -- loss, sorrow, the possibility of personal transformation -- with a feather-light satire of academic silliness and inertia. ‘The Name of the World’ is so graceful and easygoing, its prose so full of charm and sly humor, that you barely register its great ambition; Johnson’s poignant, devastating gravity sneaks up and taps politely on your shoulder."

The Salon Book Awards citation, and the full list of winners is available on-line at <http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2000/12/18/bookawards/index.html>. The original Salon review of the book: <http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2000/07/24/julyfiction/index.html/#title>.

The Salon website, which is a source of regular reviews and discussion of literature, founded the Salon Book Awards in 1996.

Johnson most recently taught at the UI in 1993.

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