June 6, 2007
UI Alumnus Robert Anthony Siegel Returns To Iowa For June 15 Reading
University of Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus Robert Anthony Siegel will return to Iowa City to read from his second novel, "All Will Be Revealed," in a free event at 7 p.m. Friday, June 15, in the Prairie Lights book store at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Website: http://writinguniversity.uiowa.edu.
The free event will be recorded for broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by Julie Englander, air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on AM 910 WSUI in Iowa City, AM 640 WOI in Ames and AM 1010 KRNI in Cedar Falls. A program is also broadcast at 5 p.m. Sundays on 91.7 FM KSUI in Iowa City.
Joanne Wilkinson wrote for Booklist, "In early-19th-century New York, Augustus Auerbach, crippled since childhood, is obsessed with his highly lucrative work as a pornographer. Convinced that he is the pioneer of a new art form, he obsesses day and night over the details of his photographic sessions; he almost never goes outside and maintains only the most superficial relationships with his servants and employees.
"Then one of his most prized models talks him into attending a seance with spiritualist Verena Swann, whose gift has been exploited and augmented with fake special effects by her brother-in-law. When Verena appears to put Augustus in touch with his long-dead and much-loved mother, Augustus finds that he is no longer satisfied with the isolated life he has been living.
"Siegel is skillful at incorporating into his narrative many fascinating details about photography and spiritualism. In addition, he draws readers into the emotional lives of two stunted people who exploit others' vulnerabilities while failing to understand their own. This well-crafted novel offers both an unusual plotline and richly atmospheric settings."
Clyde Edgerton, the author of "Walking Across Egypt" and "Raney" predicted, "'All Will Be Revealed' will hold you from start to finish -- and hold you tightly. It is one of those rare novels that delicately takes you places you never expected to find yourself, one of those rare novels that becomes a movie in your head. The story is alive and breathing in large part because of Robert Anthony Siegel's vigorous and clear prose. Just watch what happens to you as you read it. Afterwards, you'll be spreading the good news."
Siegel teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. He has received fellowships from the Japanese Ministry of Education, the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown. His first novel was "All the Money in the World."
He says about his new book, "I started the novel two weeks before my first child, Jonah, was born. It was a very stressful time: I didn't know what he would be like, or how I would have to change in order to love him, but I understood intuitively that fundamental alterations would be necessary, and that made me worried. Would I be a good father? Would he love me in return? Would I have to get an office job to pay for all the jars of mashed peas he would eat? And would that be the end of me as a writer?
"I wanted to talk to him about these things, and other things -- my feeling of being left behind by life, my sense of time passing -- but of course he was unreachable, floating in a little sea of amniotic fluid. And then one day I was pacing up and down worrying about the book I was working on, which felt artificial and forced, but really thinking about him, when a cascade of images unfolded in my mind. I saw a man wrapped in furs trudging across an arctic wasteland; a woman writing words in a notebook with the trancelike, compelled motions of a novelist; and another man, in a wheelchair, watching a naked couple making love on a bed.
"Who were these people? How were they related? I abandoned the novel I was working on and began to write, unaware that the project would take me another six years to complete. Much would happen during that time: Jonah would grow into a wonderful boy and I would love him with an ache that could not be filled. Later, my father would die, showing me that the conversations we have with people do not end with death but continue on in the imagination.
"Slowly, I came to understand that the novel was about the many sidedness of love. Augustus, Verena, Captain Swann and the others -- fragmentary, obsessive characters -- had come to show me the pieces of myself so that I could be whole and learn to love wholeheartedly."
The Writing University Web site provides a handy portal to the UI writing programs -- including the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the International Writing Program, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Iowa Playwrights' Workshop, the Translation Workshop, the UI Press and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The site also centralizes writing news, lists upcoming events and provides access to a wealth of writing materials -- texts, journals, lists of Iowa-connected writers and publications, historic videos and archived audio. Visitors to the site have the option of subscribing to an RSS feed.
For additional information about the reading call Prairie Lights, 319-337-2681. For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org