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University of Iowa News Release


University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 26, 2006

Prize-Winning Writer Freudenberger Reads On WSUI Oct. 11

Acclaimed young fiction writer Nell Freudenberger will read at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

Freudenberger, whose collection of stories "Lucky Girls" was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award, will read from her first novel, "The Dissident," the story of a Chinese performance artist working in Beverly Hills.

A review in The New Yorker stated: "This beguiling first novel centers on a Chinese performance artist and former political prisoner, who travels to Los Angeles to accept a teaching fellowship at a prestigious girls' school. His hosts are a well-off family whose matriarch, Cece Travers, is trapped in a loveless marriage with Gordon, a psychiatrist obsessed with tracing his genealogy back to 'the crossing ancestor.'

"A large cast of secondary characters includes Gordon's sister Joan, an accomplished but discontented novelist who stays skinny 'by worrying,' and his charming but irresponsible brother Phil, who is single-mindedly in love with Cece. Freudenberger demonstrates great talent for capturing the subtleties of cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships, as the dissident's struggles with his past and with his art intersect with Cece's unraveling."

Michele Leber wrote for Booklist, "Freudenberger's first novel is ambitious, crossing cultures and dealing with art and politics, love and betrayal, and -- ultimately -- deception."

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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;