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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 21, 2008

UI staff member Thomas Dean reads from 'Under a Midland Sky' Dec. 4

Thomas Dean, special assistant to University of Iowa President Sally Mason, will read from his new book, "Under a Midland Sky," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Web site

The event will be recorded for broadcast on Iowa Public Radio's "Live from Prairie Lights" series. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by WSUI's Julie Englander, air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on WSUI-AM 910 in Iowa City and WOI-AM 640 in Ames.

In "Under a Midland Sky," Dean shares pieces about Iowa weather and the summer solstice journey of the UI's giant sloth.

Jim Heynen called the book, "A beautifully written memoir ... a moving journey through the author's personal life and its continual relationship to the landscape he accepts and honors."

Dean, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has edited "The Grass of Grass and Water: Writing in Honor of Paul Gruchow," a tribute book to the famed Minnesota writer who passed away in 2004, and "Live Well, Live Wild," a brief collection of essays by Bill McKibben and Stephanie Mills prepared for the Second Iowa Conference on the Wild. He holds a doctorate in English from the UI.

He has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Study Grant and grant awards from the Michigan Humanities Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, the North Dakota Humanities Council and Humanities Iowa.

As special assistant to the president for communications and research, Dean writes speeches and does other writing and editing, and research. He co-organizes the annual Presidential Lecture and coordinates and administers the annual President's Award for State Outreach and Public Engagement.

Dean founded and directs the Iowa Project on Place Studies at the UI and is adjunct assistant professor of literature, science and the arts, and leisure studies, for which he teaches courses including "Introduction to Place Studies" and "The Good Society." He also founded and directs the Midland Roots Regional Culture Initiative, an organization that promotes Midwestern cultural expressions of place.

He teaches in the College Transition Program through the UI University College, and he has taught at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, the UI Senior College and the Iowa City Senior Center.

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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 (office), 310-430-1013 (cell),