CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 27, 2001
Former IWP Director Clark Blaise will read from his acclaimed 'Time Lord'
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- UI emeritus faculty member Clark Blaise, a graduate of
the Iowa Writers Workshop and former director of the UI International
Writing Program, will read from "Time Lord: Sir Sanford Fleming and the
Creation of Standard Time" at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11 at the Prairie Lights
Bookstore in downtown Iowa City. The reading -- which is part of the "Live
from Prairie Lights" series hosted by Julie Englander on the UI radio
station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.
Blaises book is in part an account of the creation of standard time,
spearheaded by the 19th-century Canadian engineer Sanford Fleming, and in
part an exploration of the consequences of its creation. Blaise spent two
years doing research at the Canadian National Archives in Ottawa. The book
relies heavily on that research and on Blaises own "thinking about
time in all of its manifestations (political, cultural, scientific, personal)."
"As digital read-outs blink the time of day at us from watches, cell
phones, computer screens, pocket electronic calendars, billboard, and countless
places more, the passage of time seems ever harder to escape," says Adam
Hochschild, author of "King Leopolds Ghost." "Where did
all this begin? Clark Blaises lively history traces the modern system
of time zones back to its 19th-century origins. Its a fascinating story,
with imperial rivalry and an eccentric visionary at its heart, and the wonder
is that its not better known."
A starred review of "Time Lord" in Publishers Weekly declared
that Blaise: "presents an important history of ideas and examines how
this invisible yet remarkable technological achievement of the Victorian era,
a period marked by a dogged confidence in its own capacity for progress, changed
the world. Blaise writes with perfect pitch and graceful narrative; his most
beautiful chapter explores the ways that writers like Thomas Mann, Marcel
Proust and Virginia Woolf manipulated time in their work even as they were
constrained by it.
"Every popular science book that comes down the pike these days is
compared by its publisher to Dava Sobels Longitude. But
this beautiful little book may really follow in Sobels footsteps."
Blaise was director of the IWP from 1990-98. During his tenure he worked
to strengthen the programs private-sector financial support. He also
succeeded in establishing important links with cultural agencies and commissions
abroad, including Argentinas Antorchas Foundation and organizations
in New Zealand, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Blaise retired from the UI
in 1998 and was succeeded in 2000 by Christopher Merrill, the current IWP
Blaise is the author of numerous books, including the short-story collections
"A North American Education," "Tribal Justice," "Resident
Alien" and "Man and His World," the novel "If I Were Me,"
and "I Had a Father," a post-modern autobiography written primarily
during his around-the-world travels as director of the IWP.
Blaise has received the Books in Canada Award, the Presidents Medal
for Best Story in Canada and the 1994 "Book of the Year" award from
the Canadian Booksellers Association for "I Had a Father."
He is married to the novelist Bharati Mukerjee, whom he met in Iowa City when
they were both students in the Writers Workshop, and they have written
several works together, notably the joint memoir "Days and Nights in
For more information on this reading, call the Prairie Lights bookstore
at 337-2681. For UI arts information, visit this address -- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
-- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <email@example.com>.