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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 3, 2005

Photo: Finalists for the directorship of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, from left Richard Bausch, Lan Samantha Chang, Jim Shepard and Ben Marcus.

Iowa Writers' Workshop Director Finalists Will Present Public Readings

The four finalists for the directorship of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop will present public readings in February and March as part of the selection process.

The current director, Frank Conroy, is stepping down from the directorship this spring but will remain on the faculty.

The finalists and their free readings, in Room 304 of the UI English-Philosophy Building will be:

-- Richard Bausch, reading at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10;

-- Lan Samantha Chang, reading at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24;

-- Jim Shepard, reading at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28; and

-- Ben Marcus, reading at 8 p.m. Monday, March 7.

Bausch was a singer-songwriter and a stand-up comic before he attended the Writers Workshop in the mid-'70s. He currently holds the Heritage Chair of Creative Writing at George Mason University.

Bausch's novels include "Hello to the Cannibals," "The Last Good Time," "Mr. Field's Daughter" and "In the Night Season." His stories have appeared in numerous prize-winning anthologies, including "The O. Henry Award," "New Stories from the South" and "The Pushcart Prize," and have won two National Magazine Awards -- one for work in The New Yorker and one for the Atlantic Monthly.

He is the co-editor of the "Norton Anthology of Short Fiction" and the recipient of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Chang, who also has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Writers' Workshop, recently published her first novel, "Inheritance." She is also the author of "Hunger: A Novella and Stories."

Her fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares and "The Best American Short Stories." She has received fellowships from Stanford University, Princeton University, the Radcliffe Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts.

She has taught in the UI Writers' Workshop and at Warren Wilson College and Stanford University, and she is Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard University.

Shepard, who is the J. Leland Miller Professor of English at Williams College, holds degrees from Trinity College and Brown University.

In addition to the recent novel "Project X," his work includes the novels "Flights," "Paper Doll," "Lights Out in the Reptile House," " Kiss of the Wolf" and "Nosferatu"; the story collections "Batting Against Castro" and the "Love and Hydrogen."

Shepard has also edited three anthologies: "You've Got to Read This" (with Ron Hansen); "Unleashed: Poems by Writer's Dogs" (with Amy Hempel); and "Writers at the Movies: 26 Contemporary Writers Celebrate 2 Contemporary Movies." His short fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Tin House, Playboy, McSweeney's GQ, DoubleTake, SEED and The New Yorker.

Marcus, a graduate of New York University and Brown University, is the author of "Notable American Women," "The Age of Wire and String" and "The Father Costume," a collaboration with painter Matthew Ritchie.

His work has appeared in Grand Street, Harper's, BOMB, McSweeney's, Fence (for which he was fiction editor for three years), Tin House and Conjunctions.

The recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and director of the fiction program at Columbia University. He previously taught at Brown University of Old Dominion University.

The first of the university-based creative writing programs that have collectively transformed the terrain of American literary life, the UI Writers' Workshop has nurtured poets and fiction writers for more than 60 years. UI writing alumni have won more than a dozen Pulitzer Prizes, have been honored with virtually every other major American literary award, and count among their number many of America's most popular and critically acclaimed writers.

In 1993 the Iowa Writers' Workshop became to first university-based organization to be honored with the National Humanities Medal, awarded by the U.S government to the nation's leaders in the humanities.

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.

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