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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 17, 2006

Hard Times In Iowa Is Focus Of March 3 WSUI Prairie Lights Reading

Chicago novelist Vinita Hampton Wright will read from "Dwelling Places" at 7 p.m. Friday, March 3 on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

The broadcast will originate in a free event, hosted by WSUI's Julie Englander, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at wsui.uiowa.edu.

"Dwelling Places" is a novel that takes place in Iowa during hard times, as a family loses its farm and each member deals separately with the tragedy.

Wally Lamb, author of "She's Come Undone," wrote, "Few novelists are as wise and compassionate as Vinita Hampton Wright. 'Dwelling Places' broke my heart and renewed my spirit."

A Publishers Weekly starred review stated, "In this extraordinarily well-observed, contemplative novel, Wright focuses on a present-day Iowa family reeling from one tragedy after another. . . . unlike the bulk of Christian fiction, in which characters travel predictable paths to wholesome happy endings, this novel eschews hackneyed pietism in favor of an authentic portrait of people who do not completely regret their mistakes and are still learning how to accept God's consolation."

In a starred review for the American Library Association's Booklist, John Mort wrote, "'Dwelling Places' is a sad, absorbing story about the disintegration and rejoining of an Iowa farm family. . . . (Wright's) feel for an Iowa farm town is achingly precise. There is indeed a Christian message here, but it isn't easy or obvious, and when the novel draws toward its climax of muted hope, you know how painful a passage these good people have undergone."

And a review in Entertainment Weekly called the book, "An affecting novel. . . both provocative and sage."

Wright is the author of both fiction and Bible-study materials. She conducts "creative formation" workshops at conferences around the country.

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