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Release: Immediate

IWP director Blaise reads from new novel March 17 at Prairie Lights

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Fiction writer Clark Blaise, director of the University of Iowa International Writing Program, will read from his most recent book, "If I Were Me," at 8 p.m. Monday, March 17, in Prairie Lights Books at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the UI Writers' Workshop, the International Writing Program and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public. As part of the "Live at Prairie Lights" series, the reading will be broadcast live on WSUI radio, 910 AM.

The protagonist of "If I Were Me" is a psychologist who has become world famous for his book on mind-robbing Alzheimer's disease, and who travels the world seeking the meaning of a troubling dream that challenges his sense of identity. The Toronto Sun called "If I Were Me" a series of "classic Blaise stories -- the world they present, in such a merciless, intense light, is unmistakably our world. . . . His fictional alter ego is becoming ever more daring and desperate in his attempts to fathom this world."

Recognized as one of the most outstanding voices in American and Canadian letters, Blaise is described as a writer attuned to the dark side of our culture, the undercurrents of American life and the manic nature of our times. Born to Canadian parents in North Dakota, Blaise spent most of his early years in the American deep South, where he attended 25 schools before 9th grade. Later, he moved to Canada, of which he became a citizen.

"As a native-born American with foreign parents," Blaise says, "I grew up with an outsider's view of America and a romanticized exile's view of French Canada. . . . My interest is in tribalism on the American continent and in all groups who refuse amalgamation and prefer codes and taboos of their own."

"Clark Blaise," says the Minneapolis Tribune, " is one of those rare writers who, by opening himself to us, makes it possible for us to better know ourselves."

He is the author of the novels and short story collections "Tribal Nights," "Lunar Attractions," "A North American Education," "Resident Alien," "Lusts" and "Man and His World." He also has co-written books with his wife, novelist Bharati Mukherjee, including "Days and Nights in Calcutta."

His short fiction has appeared in more than 30 anthologies, and "I Had a Father," his "post-modern autobiography," won the non-fiction book of the year honor in Canada's Authors Awards. Blaise has taught in Montreal and Toronto, as well as at Skidmore College and the UI Writers' Workshop, of which he also is a graduate.