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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 20, 2010

Writers' Workshop Director Lan Samantha Chang reads from her new novel

Lan Samantha Chang, director of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her new novel about the academic/literary life, "All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, in Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free event will be streamed live and archived at

At the renowned writing school in Bonneville, every student is simultaneously terrified of and attracted to the charismatic and mysterious poet and professor Miranda Sturgis, whose high standards for art are both intimidating and inspiring. As two students, Roman and Bernard, strive to win her admiration, the lines between mentorship, friendship and love are blurred.

Roman's star rises early, and his first book wins a prestigious prize. Meanwhile, Bernard labors for years over a single poem. Secrets of the past begin to surface, friendships are broken, and Miranda continues to cast a shadow over their lives. Chang's story asks: What is the hidden burden of early promise? And what are the personal costs of a life devoted to the pursuit of art?

Chang says, "Writing this novel meant a lot to me.  It began as a private project in which I attempted to address a number of pressing questions about art-making and teaching."

A starred review in Booklist observed, "Among the many threads Chang elegantly pursues -- the fraught relationships between mentors and students, the value of poetry, the price of ambition -- it is her indelible portrait of the loneliness of artistic endeavor that will haunt readers the most in this exquisitely written novel about the poet’s lot."

A Library Journal review noted, "The first woman and first Asian American to be director of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Chang writes from personal history. Her characters are three-dimensional and not predictable, and with her simple, elegant style she achieves a clarity that few writers accomplish.... Chang is an author worth reading now—and watching in the future."

And novelist Adam Haslett wrote, "'All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost' offers a starkly honest portrait of people caught up in the drive to write and of the personal bargains and self-deceptions that such an ambition can entail. Lan Samantha Chang was brave to write this book, to turn her novelist's eye onto a world she knows intimately, and her bravery pays off in the unflinching final scenes."

Chang's fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Story and "The Best American Short Stories," in 1994 and 1996. She is the author of the award-winning books "Hunger," and "Inheritance."

She is the recipient of the Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote fellowships at Stanford University. While a student at the UI she received a teaching-writing fellowship and a Michener-Copernicus fellowship. Her many awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Lan Samantha Chang, 319-335-0416. Winston Barclay, UI News Services, 319-430-1013,