CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 19, 2001
Workshop, film studies alumni muse on writing, TV at Libraries' Friends
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Writers' Workshop graduate Susan Taylor Chehak and her
husband Tom Chehak, a University of Iowa filmmaking graduate and television
series writer and producer, are the featured speakers at the UI Libraries'
37th annual Friends Event. The couple will give a free and public lecture
at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 4 at Shambaugh Auditorium in the Main Library. A
dinner will follow at 8:15 p.m. in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial
This year's Friends Event, "Iowa Confidential," brings the Los
Angeles-based writers and Cedar Rapids natives to campus to speak at a public
program on fiction writing and the television industry. The guest speaker
program will have a talk show style format and will be moderated by Rick Altman,
director of film studies in the UI department of cinema and comparative literature.
A book signing will take place before and after the program featuring Susan
Taylor Chehak's novels and a recently published guide to the writing craft
titled "Don Quixote Meets the Mob." Chehak is donating part of the
proceeds from her book sales to benefit the UI Libraries.
A theme dinner featuring a live viola quartet, a California wine tasting
and a buffet created around California-inspired cuisine will follow the lecture.
Tickets for the dinner are available for $35 per guest, which covers the cost
of catering. Reservations can be made by calling (319) 335-5867 or e-mail
at email@example.com by April 30.
Susan Taylor Chehak has published five novels, various short stories, a
one-act play and screenplay treatments of her stories and novels. Her 1998
title, "Rampage" is set against an Iowa landscape, leading critics
to describe her work as "Midwestern Gothic." She teaches fiction
writing at the Writer's Program at the University of California Los Angeles
and regularly at the University of Iowa Summer Writers Festival. She most
recently wrote "Don Quixote Meets the Mob," an entertaining guide
to writing and story telling which is based on her lecture notes.
Tom Chehak's television credits include "The Mary Tyler Moore Show,"
"The Tony Randall Show", "WKRP in Cincinnati," FOX TV's
"Alien Nation" series, and "Diagnosis Murder" with Dick
The Chehaks grew up together, and it was a familial association that led
them to meet Grant Tinker, then head of MTM Productions, which included the
"Mary Tyler Moore Show." Tom, based on the promise of an assistant
writer position, moved with Susan and their then three-month-old son to Los
Angeles. Tom is currently developing pilots for a variety of television networks
and just started a new job as a show runner for a half-hour drama set in South
The Friends Event is the Libraries' signature annual event, which brings
together donors, friends and the broader community to celebrate the accomplishments
of the Libraries over the past year. The event has been held since Friends
was founded in 1964.