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Aspiring writers invited to 11th annual Iowa Summer Writing Festival

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Several award-winning writers will help teach aspiring authors the crafts of writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry and other genres in the 11th annual Iowa Summer Writing Festival, June 8-July 25, at the University of Iowa.

The Festival, which has grown from nine classes in 1987 to 128 workshops this year, annually attracts more than 1,000 people from all 50 states and several foreign countries. Participants take weekend and week-long classes under the direction of established writers, learning to hone their skills and explore new ideas in writing.

Nationally known authors, including many with UI and Iowa connections, are featured among the program's 62 teachers. The program also hosts a series of public readings throughout the summer featuring prominent fiction writers and poets.

Teachers and readers for the 1997 sessions include fiction writer Lee K. Abbott, National Public Radio humorist David Bouchier, poet and UI professor Marvin Bell, nonfiction writer Hope Edelman, mystery writer Stephen Greenleaf, romance writer Leigh Michaels, and novelists Venise Barry and Susan Power.

The Festival, sponsored by the UI Division of Continuing Education, was presented with the 1995 Phillip E. Frandson Award for Continuing Excellence in the Arts and Humanities by the National University Continuing Education Association.

Registration and fees are required to participate in writing workshops. For more information about registering, call (319) 335-2534. Information also is available at the program's world wide web site at

The series of readings is free and open to the public. Readings begin at 8 p.m. in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library.

Following is the schedule of public readings at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. All readings begin at 8 p.m. and are held in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library.

June 11 -- Marvin Bell. Author of 13 books of poetry and essays, Bell has won the Academy of American Poets Lamont Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Bell is a faculty member of the UI Writers' Workshop. His latest collection of poetry is "The Book of the Dead Man."

June 18 -- Jim Heynen. The author of three short story collections and four books of poetry, Heynen teaches creative writing at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. His non-fiction book featuring centenarians, "One Hundred Over 100," was a finalist for the American Library Association's 1990 Best Non-Fiction Book award.

June 25 -- Venise Berry. Berry, an assistant professor of journalism at the UI, published her first novel, "So Good," in 1996. A journalist with decades of experience in reporting, broadcasting and screenwriting, Berry is the co-editor of "Mediated Messages and African-American Culture: Contemporary Issues."

July 9 -- James McKean. McKean won a 1994 Iowa Poetry Prize from the UI Press for his collection, "Tree of Heaven,". An earlier collection, "Headlong," won the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award. He is an associate professor of English at Mount Mercy College is Cedar Rapids.

July 11 -- Kate Aspengen. Aspengen's plays, "Dear Mrs. Martin," "Mother's Day," and "House of Wonders," have been published by Samuel French Inc. and are produced throughout the country. The Friday reading is specially presented for the Summer Writing Festival.

July 16 -- Kathryn Rhett. Rhett teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is editing a forthcoming anthology, "Survival Stories: Memoirs of Crisis," and is the author of "Near Breathing," a memoir scheduled to be published in 1997.

July 23 -- Fred Leebron. A member of the graduate faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Leebron is the author of the novel "Out West," the co-editor of the collection "Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology," and the co-author of the book "Creative Fiction."