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Release: March 20, 2002

Bharati Mukherjee reads from acclaimed new novel April 1

Bharati Mukherjee, a graduate and former faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her new novel, "Desirable Daughters," at 8 p.m. Monday, April 1 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the internet at < http://wsui.uiowa.edu/ >.

"Desirable Daughters" follows the diverging paths taken by three sisters born into a wealthy Brahmin family in Calcutta, India. Constrained by a society with little regard for women, each of the three intelligent and artistic girls rebels in her own way, leading them to three different continents as the strength of their relationship survives.

A Publishers Weekly review concluded, "It should take nothing away from the achievements of new young writers of South Asian origin to state that Mukherjee eclipses all of them in her new novel, the highlight of her career to date. Only a writer with mature vision, a sense of history and a long-nurtured observation of the Indo-American community could have created this absorbing tale of two rapidly changing cultures and the flash points where they intersect… Mukherjee has always been considered a significant writer. Here she bursts out as a star."

Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler, also a UI alumnus, wrote, " In a world increasingly challenged and defined by the collision of cultures, the collision of past ways and present ways, Mukherjee is writing achingly compassionate, ravishingly beautiful, absolutely essential books. And 'Desirable Daughters' is one of her best."

Mukherjee, who has been called "the Grande Dame of diasporic Indian literature," won the National Book Critics' Circle Award for best fiction for "The Middleman And Other Stories." Her other works of fiction include "The Tiger's Daughter," "Jasmine," "Leave It to Me" and "The Holder Of The World."

She has collaborated with her husband, UI alumnus and emeritus professor Clark Blaise, former director of the UI International Writing Program, on the non-fiction books "Days and Nights in Calcutta" and "The Sorrow and the Terror." She is professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley.

For UI arts information, visit < http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa >on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact < deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu >.