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Release: Sept. 21, 2000

Merrill to speak to Foreign Relations Council Sept. 27 about the Balkans

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, will speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council Wednesday, Sept. 27 at noon in the Rockwood Fellowship Hall of the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton Street. His presentation, "October Surprise: The Next Balkan War?" is open to the public.

Merrill is the author of three collections of poems, four book-length works of translation; several edited volumes; and three volumes of non-fiction, with a fourth volume forthcoming, all of which concern his travels through foreign lands. His most recent book, "Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars," has received extensive critical praise.

In 1997 Merrill received the Translation Award from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture. His poetry, fiction, essays, articles and translations have appeared in many books, magazines and literary journals. He has also had articles, reviews and commentaries in numerous journals and on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

Before coming to the UI this fall, Merrill taught at the College of the Holy Cross, where he created an international reading series and an annual Literary Octoberfest. He received a bachelor's degree with honors from Middlebury College in Vermont and a master's from the University of Washington.

The deadline to register for the luncheon is noon Monday, Sept. 25. New Pioneer Co-op will cater the meal, and the cost is $6 for members and $7 for non-members. Checks can be written to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and mailed to ICFRC, 120 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52245-1802. For more information, call 335-0351. They are unable to take reservations by phone but last minute adjustments may be made.

Merrill's presentation is cosponsored by UI International Programs and The International Writing Program and is presented in part with the support of Firstar Bank. For those unable to attend, WSUI-AM (910) will carry this program Thursday, Sept. 28 following the noon news.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the University of Iowa campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

ICFRC is part of the UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the Associate Provost and Dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.