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University of Iowa News Release


March 27, 2009

Honor Moore will read from 'The Bishop's Daughter' April 9

Poet and playwright Honor Moore will read from the memoir "The Bishop's Daughter" at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The "Live from Prairie Lights" series event will be streamed live and then archived on the UI Writing University Web site

Paul Moore's vocation as an Episcopal priest took him -- with his wife, Jenny, and their family of nine children -- from robber-baron wealth to work among the urban poor, leadership in the civil rights and peace movements, and two decades as the bishop of New York.

"The Bishop's Daughter" is one daughter's story of her turbulent relationship with a father who struggled privately with his sexuality while she openly explored hers and a searching account of the consequences of sexual secrets.

An article in the New York Times Book review described her writing as, "Prose as emotionally resonant as a confession."

A starred review in Publishers Weekly stated, "Having told the sad, extraordinary story of her maternal grandmother, the painter Margarett Sargent, in 'The White Blackbird' (1996), Moore offers a painfully honest memoir of her father, Paul Moore (1919-2003), the Episcopal bishop of the diocese of New York from 1972 to 1989.

"Educated at St. Paul's and Yale, Paul distinguished himself in battle as a marine on Guadalcanal during WWII; fathered nine children by his first wife, the vivacious Jenny McKean; and became an activist in the liberal social movements of the 1950s and '60s. He also had numerous clandestine affairs with men. While Paul's bisexuality did little harm to his professional career, it took a heavy emotional toll on his family, notably Jenny, who up to her death from cancer at age 51 confided to only a few intimates the underlying cause of the unhappiness in her marriage.

"The author, a poet and playwright, draws on letters between her parents, the reminiscences of friends (including a male lover of her father's) and her own experiences as her parents' oldest child coming of age in the '60s to create an indelible portrait of a charismatic religious leader who could be insensitive or even cruel to those who loved him most. At the dramatic heart of this engrossing family chronicle is the ultimately triumphant struggle of the daughter, who suffered her own sexual confusion and years of therapy, to reconstruct her father's personal history in an effort to understand his behavior and thereby forgive."

A Los Angeles Times review concluded, "Paul Moore and his daughter have been set free by this book. There is no shame left, and neither is there blame."

Moore teaches at the New School and Columbia University in New York.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jan Weissmiller, Prairie Lights,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office) 319-430-1013 (cell),