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CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: July 5, 2001

UI CAMPUS NOTES -- IOWA CENTER FOR THE ARTS

CRONIN READS JULY 16 -- University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Justin Cronin, author of the novel "Mary and O'Neil," will read at 8 p.m. Monday, July 16 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading is part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" broadcast series, originating on UI radio station WSUI, 910 AM.

"Mary and O'Neil" is a series of linked stories that follow a couple from youth to middle age.

Critic Ricco Villanueva Siasoco wrote, "Cronin proves himself a deft chronicler of everyday American life… Cronin captures the rhythmic patterns of waking, working, and loving."

In her review, Emma Christensen concluded, "This is ultimately a novel about hope and faith in a world that rarely seems to have any sense of justice. The emotions these characters feel are real and deeply felt. Cronin does an awe-inspiring job of connecting the lives of his characters with the lives of his readers, causing us to reflect on our own histories of tragedy and triumph."

And Andrea Barrett, author of "The Voyage of the Narwhal" called the book, "A rare combination of brilliant prose, precise feeling, and omniscient wisdom regarding the complicated bonds between generations."

Cronin is a faculty member at LaSalle University. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Epoch, the Greensboro Review, and the Crescent Review; and he has published the novella "A Short History of the Long Ball." He is back in Iowa City as a faculty member in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

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HOLDEFER READS JULY 17 -- Iowa native Charles Holdefer, an alumnus of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and a faculty member in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, will read from his new novel, "Nice," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St., in downtown Iowa City.

The free reading is part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" broadcast series, originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM.

"Nice" is the all-purpose description of the do-good-to-a-fault hero of Holdefer's darkly satiric second novel, the follow-up to "Apology for Red." The character, everyone's Mr. Nice Guy, is so uncritically eager to please, so trusting and so afraid of causing offense that he sinks deeper and deeper into trouble.

John Green wrote for the American Library Association's Booklist, "this truly eccentric novel, with its well-earned humor and poignant story, will reward readers with an unusually compelling hero."

Holdefer's fiction has appeared in the New England Review, the North American Review, Paris Transcontinental and other magazines. He received a doctorate from the Sorbonne, and he lives most of the year in France.

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BAUER READS JULY 19 -- Iowa writer Douglas Bauer, whose latest work is "The Stuff of Fiction, Advice on Craft," will read at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 19, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading is part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" broadcast series, originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM.

Critic Jane Steinberg wrote of "The Stuff of Fiction," which is based on Bauer's Bennington College Writing Seminar, "To read Douglas Bauer's lovely ruminations on the art of literary fiction is to be transported back to those intimate seminars one never quite appreciated enough in school. How refreshing it is to read a book about fiction writing that speaks of nothing so crass as hooking readers or marketing oneself or conforming to genre specifications."

Denise S. Sticha wrote in the Library Journal, "the way he dissects selected samples of contemporary fiction to reveal the architecture of the passage will inspire his readers to deeper critical attention and thought."

Bauer's own fiction includes the novels "Dexterity," "The Very Air" and "The Book of Famous Iowans," and he has also published "Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home."

His debut, "Dexterity," identified Bauer as one of America's important young writers. A Detroit News review called the book, "An altogether stunning debut"; William Kennedy asserted "Here is an extraordinary writer.. a great and original book"; and a critique in the Washington Post Book World called the book, "Brilliant -- one of those relatively rare novels, first or otherwise, that just keep getting better as they unfold."

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AVERILL READS JULY 20 -- Thomas Fox Averill, an Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate back at the UI to teach in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, will read from his new novel, "Secrets of the Tsil Cafe," at 8 p.m. Friday, July 20, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading is part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" broadcast series, originating on UI radio station WSUI, 910 AM.

Averill, the writer-in-residence at Washburn University, is the author of two collections of short stories -- "Passes at the Moon" and "Seeing Mona Naked" -- and his work has been anthologized in "Prize Stories 1991: The O. Henry Awards."

Averill's coming-of-age narrator in "Secrets of the Tsil Cafe" grows up suspended between competing family members, cultures and cuisines.

GraceAnne DeCandido wrote in the American Library Association's Booklist, "Food is the talisman, the metaphor, and the basic aroma of this voluptuous novel… The tale is full of recipes, some on the very edge of bizarre but all bursting with flavor and history. Definitions of New World foods, from maple syrup to pawpaws, are included, and Averill has managed to integrate both recipes and definitions into his richly unfolding story -- no mean feat."