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Release: Immediate

Novelist John Casey will give reading April 9

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Author John Casey, winner of the National Book Award, will read from his work at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 9 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, which is sponsored by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights Books, is free and open to the public.

Casey's latest novel, "The Half-Life of Happiness," has received wide attention and praise. The book describes the meltdown of a marriage against the backdrop of a gloriously awful congressional campaign. Casey is also the author of books that include "Spartina," which won the National Book Award, and "An American Romance," his first and highly acclaimed novel.

New York Times reviewer John Leonard describes Casey as an author whose "eye for color, texture, earth and sky is in superb working order. His ear hears every nuance. His wit stings. Academic politics, the nature of friendship, social insecurity, adolescent sexuality, literary criticism and art itself are explored with a passionate sophistication."

Author Mary Lee Settle writes that "The Half-Life of Happiness" is "one of the wisest and most prescient novels about the stumblers and survivors of American life I have ever read. A compassionate, funny, ominous story of the breakup of a marriage, seen over the shoulders of a husband and wife and watched, commented on and remembered by two wonderful, clear-eyed, no-nonsense children."

Amitav Ghosh writes: "'The Half-Life of Happiness' is riveting: a richly exciting exploration of that turbulent frontier where the personal intersects with the political. Casey is the Trollope of postmodern America."

About "Spartina," Time magazine declares: "Here is old-fashioned, full-bodied fiction with a vengeance. . . . They do not make novels like this very much anymore; John Casey deserves gratitude for being stubborn and talented enough to do so and succeed."

Casey is a visiting professor this spring at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, from which he also is a graduate. He is a professor of English literature at the University of Virginia. He has been a contributor to publications that include the New Yorker, Esquire, Harper's and Sports Illustrated.