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PATCHETT READS OCT. 28 -- Novelist Ann Patchett, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her work at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public. The reading will be broadcast live on "Live from Prairie Lights," originating on WSUI, AM 910.

Patchett is the author of three novels -- "The Patron Saint of Liars," "Taft" and "The Magician's Assistant" -- all of which have received wide attention.

The New York Times Book Review called "Taft" "as resonant as a blues song," adding that you could "expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett's fiction."

Patchett's most recent novel, "The Magician's Assistant" negotiates a path through illusion and reality as a magician's assistant loses her partner of 20 years, to whom she had been married for only a few months. Following his death she discovers the magician had secrets -- a past and a family she never knew of -- and sets out on a new course of discovery.

Of the "Magician's Assistant" Pulitzer Prize-winning UI alumnus Robert Olen Butler wrote: "Reading the 'Magician's Assistant is like watching a master illusionist at work. Ann Patchett fills her readers with wonder, delight and a new sense of possibility. And with this work Patchett's career dazzles on in much the same way: Anything is possible for her."

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PERSPECTIVES OCT. 29 -- "Slavery and Ruins in the Indian Ocean," an original documentary film by Frederick Woodard, chair of the African-American World Studies program at the University of Iowa, will be shown at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in the UI Museum of Art . Prior to the showing, Woodard will speak briefly about the production of the film. The presentation is open to the public free of charge.

Filmed on location on the small island of Chole in the Indian Ocean, the film contains interviews with inhabitants of the island, including the descendants of slaves, and examines the oral traditions that document the Indian Ocean slave trade.

Distinct from the European and American slave trade of the Middle Passage, the Indian Ocean slave trade was practiced primarily by Arabs, and goes back at least as far as the 11th century. Africans enslaved by the trade included individuals from nearly all of the Kiswahili language groups, and were taken from a large geographic area, ranging from Somalia in the north to Lake Victoria in the south, and as far inland as the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).

The trade eventually extended across the Middle East into parts of Asia and India, where communities comprised of the descendants of East African slaves continue to exist. The trade was eventually eradicated, due in part to British intervention, in 1926.

Woodard has made several trips to Africa to study the ruins of slave farms and the diaries of missionaries who documented the trade, and he has compiled more than 20 hours of interviews on film. The documentary is the first in what he hopes will be a series of five; the next film will focus on the five distinct routes used in the trade and will include interviews with former slaves.

Woodard said, "There are enough ruins and oral traditions resulting from the Indian Ocean slave trade to keep undergraduate and graduate students in many disciplines busy for a long time."

Kiswahili is used as the primary language in the film's narrative and interviews, and there will be an interpreter present during the presentation.

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LECTURE ON LOUIS SULLIVAN OCT. 29 -- The University of Iowa School of Art and Art History will present "Louis Sullivan's Vitalism," a slide lecture by Richard Etlin, an architecture historian at the University of Maryland, at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 29 in Room E109 of the Art Building. The lecture will be open to the public free of charge.

Sullivan was a noted architect based in Chicago in the early 20th century. He designed several buildings constructed in Iowa, including a bank in Cedar Rapids.

John Scott, UI faculty member in art history, said, "Sullivan designed many buildings in the Midwest, but he was an architect of national and international prominence."

Etlin is an expert in modern American and European architecture. His most recent publication is "In Defense of Humanism," an account of humanism in various forms of the media that challenges post-structuralism.

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LECTURE ON ART PUBLISHING OCT. 30 -- Beatrice Rehl, fine arts editor at Cambridge University Press, will present "Art History Publishing at Present and Future," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in Room E109 of the University of Iowa Art Building. The lecture will be open to the public free of charge.

John Scott, UI faculty member in art History, said that Rehl's lecture will focus on the state of the scholarly monograph in fine arts publishing. The scholarly monograph is a text that is not intended for the general public, but caters to a specific scholarly audience. In recent years the publishing industry has neglected the monograph in favor of more general art history publications, Scott said.

Rehl has a doctorate in art history and specializes in medieval art studies. Her visit is sponsored by the UI School of Art and Art History in conjunction with the UI Libraries Committee.

(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Rehl is pronounced RAIL.)

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UNIVERSITY THEATRES STAGES MURDER MYSTERY FOR HALLOWEEN -- The University Theatres Gallery series will present "The Secrets of Gordon MacLeod," a new Halloween murder mystery written by six University of Iowa undergraduate playwrights, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

"The Secrets of Gordon MacLeod" contains six short plays, each by a different playwright in the advanced playwriting class taught by Kate Aspengren. All six plays have one thing in common: They deal with the mysterious circumstances at the Mansfield Arms, where evidence suggests that a murder may have occurred but no body has been found.

Writing from the points of view of different characters in the story, each playwright has a distinctive take on what may have happened. The six plays are "Magic Red" by Ryan M. Cherry, "The Mercury Stone" by Rob Merritt, "Drooling to Relate" by Oliver Nowak, "The Hallow" by Nina Orechwa, "Kewanee Type R" by Helene M. Lubaroff and "Pocket Watch" by Michael J. Ehlert.

The final result, Aspengren says, is a fast-paced evening covering everything from humor to suspense to horror.

Admission to "The Secrets of Gordon MacLeod" are $4 ($2 for UI students and senior citizens) at the door.

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POET REGINALD SHEPHERD READS OCT. 30 -- Poet Reginald Shepherd, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from his work at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 30, at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public. The reading will be broadcast on "Live from Prairie Lights," originating on WSUI, AM 910.

Shepherd, the author of two highly acclaimed collections of poems, is emerging as one of the nation's unique, youthful voices in poetry.

Chase Twichell says of Shepherd's work: "Reginald Shepherd's poems are reckless in the best sense. Passionate, brainy and sad, they chronicle the mysteries, small and large, of emotional and intellectual life. . . . He tells secrets that might turn out to be your own."

Bin Ramke says of Shepherd's collection "Angel Interrupted": "There is such an exuberant sadness to this collection that no one will escape it unchanged. Reginald Shepherd's instructions to us are simple: 'Read this and tell me what it says.'"

Shepherd's work has appeared in the 1995 and 1996 "Best American Poetry" collections, Grand Street, the Paris Review, The Nation, the Kenyon Review, Poetry, the TriQuarterly and many other publications.

His collection "Some Are Drowning" won the Associated Writing Programs' Award Series in Poetry. Shepherd also has received the "Discovery"/Nation Award, the Paumanok Poetry Award, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, the George Kent Prize from Poetry magazine and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.