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Release: June 7, 1999

Authors to read during 1999 Iowa Summer Writing Festival

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The 1999 Iowa Summer Writing Festival will kick off six weekly author readings Wednesday, June 16 with Gerald Stern, winner of the 1998 National Book Award for poetry.

The readings will be 8 p.m. Wednesdays through July 28 at Shambaugh Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

The Festival, which is celebrating its 13th season this summer, is organized by the University of Iowa Division of Continuing Education and will offer 142 workshops covering a variety of genres this year. Last year more than 1,500 writers from around the globe participated in the Festival’s 130 workshops.

More information about the festival is available on-line at

Readers for this year’s Festival are:

Wednesday, June 16 -- Gerald Stern

Stern, who was a faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop for 13 years, won the 1998 National Book Award for poetry for his most recent collection This Time: New and Selected Poems. He has also received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, The Paterson Poetry Prize and the Lamont Poetry Prize. He lives in Pennsylvania and New York City.

Wednesday, June 23 -- Lan Samantha Chang

Chang, who currently teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is the author of Hunger: A Novella and Stories (1998). Her fiction has also appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Story and in The Best American Short Stories 1994 and 1995. She is a recipient of a James A. Michener Fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award.

Wednesday, June 30 -- Wayne Johnson

Johnson, a Writers’ Workshop graduate, is a recipient of an O. Henry Award, a Teaching-Writing Fellowship from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a Transatlantic Review award and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. His first novel, The Snake Game (Alfred A. Knopf), was a London Times bestseller and his stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies such as The Atlantic, Story and Norton’s New World’s of Literature.

Wednesday, July 14 -- Harriet Levin

Levin is the author of The Christmas Show, which was selected for the Barnard New Women Poet’s Prize and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America for a manuscript-in-progress. A graduate of the Writers’ Workshop, her poems have appeared in the Partisan Review, the Iowa Review and other publications. She currently teaches creative writing and humanities at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Wednesday, July 21 -- Marcos McPeek Villatoro

Villatoro, a Writers’ Workshop graduate, is an award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer and poet. He has written several books including A Fire in the Earth, andThey say That I Am Two (collection of poetry). He incorporates two distinct parts of his heritage into his readings, one of his Latino culture and the other of the present-day South.

Wednesday, July 28 -- Carol Spindel

Spindel is the author of In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Her essays have appeared in literary journals, magazines and over National Public Radio airwaves. Her new book of nonfiction, Dancing at Halftime, explores our attachment to imaginary Indian chiefs and chronicles a 10-year controversy over a sports mascot.