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Release: April 6, 2001

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Christopher Merrill can be reached at 319-335-2609 or <>.)

Slovenian authors Salamun, Debeljak to read April 20 at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Slovenian authors Tomaz Salamun and Ales Debeljak will read from their work at 8 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Prairie Lights Bookstore in downtown Iowa City. The reading -- which is part of the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.

Salamun is widely considered the Republic of Slovenia's finest poet as well as one of the leading writers in Central Europe. He has published 30 books of poetry in his native country and has had four collections of selected poetry published in English, including "The Selected Poems of Tomaz Salamun," "The Shepherd, the Hunter," "The Four Questions of Melancholy" and "Feast."

Christopher Merrill, director of the University of Iowa International Writing Program and a translator of both Salamun and Debeljak, said Salamun has "exerted a great deal of influence on many younger poets, including me. He's a world-class poet. He's easily the best poet of the Balkans, and one of the best of them all."

A former IWP participant, Salamun has won the Preseren Fund Prize, the Jenko Prize and a Pushcart Prize. He also has served as cultural attache to the Slovenian Embassy in New York.

Debeljak is the author of the poetry collections "The City and the Child" and "Anxious Moments," both translated from the Slovenian by Merrill. Debeljak is also the author of "Twilight of the Idols," a book of essays on Yugoslavia.

Library Journal praised "Twilight of the Idols" for its "poignant personal essays on the destruction of a civilized and once-hopeful region."

Currently Chair of the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Ljubljana, Debeljak earned his doctorate in social thought at Syracuse University.

For more information on this reading, call the Prairie Lights bookstore at 337-2681. The reading is co-sponsored by the UI Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

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