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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 26, 2006

Mississippi River Symposium Is Subject Of WMT Radio Program Oct. 27

The "Mississippi River Symposium" will be the topic of discussion when Christopher Merrill, director of the world-renowned University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP), is the guest on News Radio 600 WMT-AM's "What's Happening," hosted by Andy Petersen from 10-11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 27.

The symposium, a discussion about the importance of water in our physical and intellectual lives, is being held Oct. 28-30 at the UI's new Art Building West in Iowa City and the Grand Harbor Resort on the Mississippi River in Dubuque.

Scientists, writers, scholars and policymakers will discuss the relationship between water and land, rivers and seas, and human society and nature. Organized by the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and the IWP, the conference and the book of essays that will result from it are intended to provoke a broad exchange of views about water and human affairs. Among the questions that the participants will address in a series of discussions are: "How do we make wise water decisions?"; "Are you responsible for the quality of the environment in which you live?"; and "What should be the target, the national goal, for our water quality efforts on the Mississippi?"

Although admission to the symposium is by invitation only, the public is invited to attend two events:

--Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, novelist and nonfiction writer, will deliver the keynote speech from 7-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 in Art Building West, 141 N. Riverside Drive. He is the author of "Mark Twain: a Life" and  "Flags of Our Fathers" (James Bradley with Ron Powers), the basis for the 2006 film directed by Clint Eastwood. The public is also invited to attend a pre-speech reception at 6 p.m.

--Frederick Turner, recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Art and the Guggenheim Foundation, will read from his latest novel, "Redemption," at 7 p.m.  Monday, Oct. 30, in the Prairie Lights Bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Symposium planners say they hope the event will inspire new perspectives on the uneasy status of water resources.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,