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Release: Sept. 7, 2001

Three readings set for 'Live from Prairie Lights' Sept. 10-12 on WSUI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Upcoming "Live from Prairie Lights" readings feature Aimee Bender,
J. Robert Lennon and Barbara Ching.

The readings, broadcast on University of Iowa's public radio station WSUI, 910 AM are free and open to the public at the Prairie Lights Bookstore in downtown Iowa City.

Aimee Bender will read from her first novel, "An Invisible Sign of My Own" Monday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. The book tells the story of Mona Gray, a math whiz and a high school track star, whose ordinary childhood comes to pieces when her father is stricken with a mysterious illness.

Bender's first book of stories, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, won critical acclaim after being published in 1999. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine.

J. Robert Lennon will read from his newest novel, On the Night Plain, on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. Following his critically acclaimed The Light of Falling Stars, Lennon's latest novel tells the story of a man who reluctantly accepts his birthright in a hard-luck sheep-ranching family.

Richard Bernstein of The New York Times called On the Night Plain "the kind of book that steals slowly into the reader's sympathy…An utterly convincing evocation of hard lives…impressive."

Barbara Ching will read from her new book, Wrong's What I Do Best: Hard Country Music and Contemporary Culture on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m.

Ching, an assistant professor of English at the University of Memphis, examines the world of "hard" country music, made popular by singers such as Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, and George Jones. According to the Library Journal, Ching says "hard county" is defined by its "angry alienation, hard times, and incurable desolation in contrast to the patriotism, nostalgia, and pop romance of mainstream country."