CONTACT: JENNY BURMAN
CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Novelist Allan Gurganus will give a reading Dec. 6
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Allan Gurganus, author of the best-selling and award-winning
novel "The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" will read
from his most recent novel, "Plays Well With Others," at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 6 at Shambaugh Auditorium in the University of Iowa Main
Library. The reading, which is sponsored by the UI Writers' Workshop, is
free and open to the public.
A graduate of the Writers' Workshop, Gurganus describes his own work
in this way: "I write the funniest books possible about the worst
things that can happen to people."
His recently published "Plays Well With Others" describes
in comic terms a New York City community losing its friends and partners
to AIDS in the early days of the epidemic.
Michiko Kakutani, praising the book in her New York Times review, writes:
"Allan Gurganus' moving new novel takes the traditional form of the
bildungsroman and gives it a tragic twist: its youthful protagonists' loss
of innocence -- and achievement of wisdom -- is accompanied by the knowledge
of almost certain death. . . . We are given a glimpse of that magical metropolis,
magnet to the young, the daring, the talented and the adventuresome, an
infinitely romantic place where dreams can be realized (and crushed) and
people can invent themselves anew."
The author has been hailed as the heir to William Faulkner and Eudora
Welty. John Cheever called him "the most technically gifted and historically
responsive writer of his generation."
Gurganus' first published story (1972) was also the New Yorker magazine's
first acceptance of a work of fiction depicting a homosexual character.
Years later, with his completion of "The Oldest Living Confederate
Widow Tells All," the author proceeded to win a wide, mainstream readership
and fame as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman
Prize for fiction. It was adapted by NBC into a television movie.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's response to "The Oldest Living Confederate
Widow" was: "Those of us who haven't yet read this astonishing
first novel should immediately commence doing so, leaving those of us who
already have experienced the book to start rereading."
Gurganus' collection of short stories, "White People," which
explores the place of white people in a changing world, won the Los Angeles
Times Book Prize for fiction as well as the Southern Book Award for Best
Fiction from the Southern Book Critics' Circle.
The author's work has appeared in publications including Granta, The
New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Antaeus
and the Paris Review.