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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 18, 2009

McPhee and Silverblatt will present free event at the Englert Theater

Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction writer John McPhee, one of the pioneers of narrative nonfiction, will be joined by Michael Silverblatt, host of the "Bookworm" a nationally-syndicated radio program, in a free event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City. McPhee and Silverblatt are guests of the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program.

The event will be archived on the UI Writing University Web site:

McPhee created a new style of literary journalism by incorporating the storytelling style and feel of fiction, livening his reporting with a strong sense of characterization and an eye for detail. His subjects have ranged from basketball player Bill Bradley to a bush pilot to a canoe builder to a Swiss winemaker.

His prolific and eclectic writing career -- including 30 books -- began at Time magazine and led to his long association with the New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965.

The same year he published his first book, "A Sense of Where You Are" (his observation of Bradley's basketball career at Princeton), and soon followed with "The Headmaster," Oranges," "The Pine Barrens," "A Roomful of Hovings and Other Profiles," "Levels of the Game," "The Crofter and the Laird," "Encounters with the Archdruid," "The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed," "The Curve of Binding Energy," "Pieces of the Frame" and "The Survival of the Bark Canoe (1975).

Both "Encounters with the Archdruid" and "The Curve of Binding Energy" were nominated for National Book Awards. Selections from these books make up "The John McPhee Reader."

Since 1977, the year in which McPhee received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the bestselling "Coming into the Country" appeared in print, he has published "Giving Good Weight," "Basin and Range," "In Suspect Terrain," "La Place de la Concorde Suisse," "Table of Contents," "Rising from the Plains," "Heirs of General Practice," "The Control of Nature," "Looking for a Ship," "Assembling California," "The Ransom of Russian Art," "The Second John McPhee Reader," "Irons in the Fire," "Annals of the Former World." Which won the Pulitzer Prize.

His most recent books are "The Founding Fish" and "Uncommon Carriers," the result of eight years spent in the company of people working in freight transportation.

McPhee teaches nonfiction writing at Princeton University.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: John D'Agata, Winston Barclay, University News Services, 319-384-0073,