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University of Iowa News Release

June 12, 2003

Photo: Book covers (from left), Leave Myself Behind, by Bart Yates; Poets, Martyrs and Satyrs: New and Selected Poems, by Jordan Miller; The English Disease, by Joseph Skibell; and Short People: Stories, by Joshua Furst.

June 23-26 'Live From Prairie Lights' Schedule Features UI Alumnus Furst

"Live from Prairie Lights," the series of broadcast readings hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature UI alumnus Joshua Furst during its June 23-26 schedule. The schedule includes:

--Furst, reading from "Short People: Stories" at 8 p.m. Monday, June 23 in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building.
--Bart Yates, reading from the coming-out novel "Leave Myself Behind" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 24.
--Joseph Skibell, reading from his new novel, "The English Disease," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 25.
--Poet Jordan Miller, reading from "Poets, Martyrs and Satyrs: New and Selected Poems, 1959-2001" at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 26.

All the readings will be free events in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen to the readings on the Internet at http://wsui.uiowa.edu.

Jay McInerney described Furst's "Short People: Stories" as "a remarkable collection of stories, a wide ranging, unsentimental exploration of the lost worlds of childhood and adolescence where the angles are all slightly askew and the logic is more rigorous than our own. These are scary, funny, brilliantly observed narratives; Josh Furst is a terrific writer."

Meghan Daum observed, "Joshua Furst writes about the world of young people with a complexity and lack of sentimentality that is rarely, if ever, explored in American literature. To read these stories is to enter into some dark worlds, but the magic here lies in Furst's affection for his characters and, moreover, his almost parental desire for them to turn out okay. 'Short People' is, at its core, a book about caring, and no one has taken more care than the author himself."

A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Furst is the author of several plays that have been produced in New York. His honors include a UI Michener Fellowship and the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award.

Critic James Klise wrote that in "Leave Myself Behind," "Yates effectively captures the honest, sometimes silly, often tender interactions between his fragile characters." And InsightOut described Yates as "a new literary star."

The Marx Brothers and Gustav Mahler come together in Skibell's "The English Disease." A Publishers Weekly preview explained, "The sophisticated interplay of conflicted faith and prosaic everyday life, and the clashes between inborn heritage and constructed love, are at the heart of this second novel by the author of the memorable 'A Blessing on the Moon.' A middle-aged secular Jew raised in Texas, Charles Belski is a musicologist who searches for the secret to theology through the works and lives of various historical personalities: Wagner, Mahler, and Zeppo and Groucho Marx."

Skibell was the recipient of the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Steve Turner Prize for First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters. He teaches at Emory University.

Jordan Miller's poetic career is surveyed in "Poets, Martyrs and Satyrs: New and Selected Poems, 1959-2001." Naomi Lazard wrote, "This book is full of lovely Romantic poetry for the 21st century. Right up to date."

Miller is also the co-author of "Sharon: Israel's Warrior-Politician."

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu.