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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 6, 2006

Novelist Alice McDermott Reads From New Novel Oct. 20 On WSUI

Alice McDermott, who won the 1998 National Book Award for "Charming Billy," will present a "Live from Prairie Lights" reading at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be broadcast on University of Iowa radio station WSUI-AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

McDermott will read from her new novel, "After This," the story of the Irish-Catholic Keane family of Long Island.

Jane Hamilton wrote in the Washington Post Book World, "In 'After This,' McDermott continues to pose her perennial questions: Does the lie that is faith, that is romance, that is poetry, make ordinary life better or worse? How best can a person survive disappointments, sorrows and also blessings day after day? How do we preserve our love for the dead when we can obtain only a limited amount of solace from telling stories about them? ... The book is about what George Eliot called the great 'home epic,' everything that takes place in the family during the course of a lifetime: war, love, marriage, birth, more war and the occasional turn of fate that gives each person a particular story.

"McDermott is at the height of her powers here, charging her seemingly ordinary scenes with the possibility of danger, of terror or mystery and, on occasion, radiance. She does so with the lightest touch, with the silkiest humor, and yet at the same time she probes deeply into the moment.

"All her books are touched with the grace of her generous intelligence, her sly wit and her compassion for our longings, our griefs and the revelations that come only in the briefest of glimmers. The opportunities for revelation are greater because we have books such as this one, because of McDermott's quiet and sublime gift."

And Donna Seaman wrote in her starred review for Booklist, "Word by word, metaphor by metaphor, McDermott writes the most exquisitely perceptive and atmospheric fiction published today."

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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; cell: 310-430-1013;