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University of Iowa News Release


July 22, 2010

Four 'Live from Prairie Lights' fiction readings span the weekend

Four "Live from Prairie Lights" fiction readings featuring Midwest writers, streamed live and archived at the University of Iowa's Writing University,, will span the upcoming weekend at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City:

--Julie Kramer at 7 p.m. Friday, July 23.
--James Levine at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 24.
--Zachary Jack at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 25.
--Michelle Hoover at 7 p.m. Monday, July 26.

silencing samJulie Kramer will read from her new mystery, "Silencing Sam," the third installment in her series starring TV reporter Riley Spartz. This newest page-turner in Kramer's bestselling series finds the intrepid heroine charged with the murder of a despicable gossip columnist.

Kramer is a freelance network news producer for CBS and NBC, and she formally ran WCCO-TV's nationally award-winning investigative unit in Minneapolis. Her debut thriller, "Stalking Susan," won the Minnesota Book Award and the RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Mystery.

blue-notebookLevine will read from his novel, "The Blue Notebook," the story of Batuk, an Indian girl who is taken to Mumbai from the countryside and sold into prostitution by her father. The blue notebook is her diary, in which she recalls her early childhood, records her life on the Common Street and makes up beautiful and fantastic tales about a silver-eyed leopard and a poor boy who fells a giant with a single gold coin.

Levine, a British-born doctor at the Mayo Clinic, was -- as part of his medical research -- interviewing homeless children on a street in Mumbai known as the Street of Cages, when a young woman writing in a notebook outside her cage caught Levine's attention. The powerful image of a young prostitute engaged in the act of writing haunted him, and he began to write.

what-cheerJack, an Iowa City native, will read from his new novel, "What Cheer." Part romantic comedy, part whodunit, part great American road trip, "What Cheer," asks a lover's ageless questions: "Where, when, and with whom?" set in perfectly surreal yet real places--What Cheer, Lost Nation, Story County.

A former newspaper sportswriter and editor, Jack is an assistant professor of English at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., where he teaches workshops in literary and participatory journalism. The editor of many essay collections on the environment and outdoor life, Jack also has published two volumes of poetry.

Jack was the recipient of the Prentice Hall Prize for Poetry, the founding director of the Iowa School of Lost Arts for children, and a writer in residence at New York's Blue Mountain Center, Mexico's Great River Arts Institute and Ireland's Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

quickeningHoover, a native of Ames, will read from her first novel, "The Quickening," set in the upper Midwest of the early 1900s where two women struggle to make a living on neighboring farms. For one, this hardscrabble life comes easily, while the other longs for the excitement of the city. Although they depend on one another for survival and companionship, their friendship proves as rugged as the land they farm.

Hoover teaches writing at Boston University and Grub Street. She has been a Bread Loaf Writer's Conference scholar, the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and in 2005, the winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award for Fiction.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at

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

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