CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 7, 2001
UI Writers' Workshop graduate Terrell to read from first novel
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Whitney Terrell, a graduate of the University of Iowa
Writers' Workshop and former graduate assistant of UI Arts Center Relations,
will return to Iowa City to read from his acclaimed first novel, "The
Huntsman," at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, in the Prairie Lights bookstore
at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading will be broadcast
on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on UI radio
station WSUI, AM 910.
In the mystery-genre opus of "The Huntsman," Terrell audaciously
re-confronts America's inescapable issues -- race, privilege and justice --
in a Kansas City murder story.
A Publishers Weekly review summarizes: "The boundaries of racial and
sexual propriety are crossed with a vengeance in Terrell's powerful, evocative
debut novel, which tells the story of a young black ex-con named Booker Short
who calls in a favor after getting out of prison and turns an entire town
upside down in the process. When Short finishes doing time for his nebulous
role in a dope-selling operation, Mercury Chapman, the white man who was his
grandfather's commander in the service, sets Short up with a caretaker job
in Kansas City.
"The young man's rise through the ranks of Kansas City society accelerates
considerably when he begins a tumultuous affair with troubled, erratic Clarissa
Sayers, a white judge's daughter whom he meets on the job. Their edgy union
unnerves everyone they know, especially Clarissa's father, Thornton. But as
most of the town knows, Thornton is on uncertain ground himself, his relationship
with his daughter disturbingly close. When Clarissa turns up murdered, Short
becomes the most likely suspect, but he goes underground until a final meeting
between Chapman, Short and Sayers reveals the volatile wartime source of Chapman's
old debt and exposes the explosive scandal in an ending that is both surprising
A starred critique in Kirkus Reviews described Terrell's book as " A
masterful, surprising first novel, Faulknerian in its tone and structure,
by a fine new storyteller." Russell Banks called the book, " downright
wondrous . . . as powerfully told as any first novel I've read in a long time."
Terrell's experience ranges from undergraduate studies at Princeton University,
reporting for the Kansas City Star (which described "The Huntsman"
as " a debut novel that delves deep into issues that might make some
folks squirm a bit -- but isn't that one of the key reasons literature exists?")
and teaching at Rockhurst University, to commercial salmon fishing in Alaska
and elk hunting in the Colorado Rockies.
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