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Release: Feb. 13, 2002

Photo: University of Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty members Lan Samantha Chang, fiction writer (left), and Brenda Hillman, poet.

Workshop faculty members Chang, Hillman to read

University of Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty members Lan Samantha Chang, fiction writer, and Brenda Hillman, poet, will read from their work at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 in Room 101 of the UI Biology Building East. Sponsored by the Writers' Workshop, the reading is free and open to the public.

Lynne Sharon Schwartz says Chang's book, "Hunger," a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and Silver Medalist in the California Book Awards, "introduces a dazzling young writer. Lan Samantha Chang's quintessentially American stories are laced with wisdom and elegance, and compel the mind as well as the heart."

Chang, a graduate of the UI Writers' Workshop, has published stories in the Atlantic Monthly, Story and twice in "The Best American Short Stories." She has also held Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote fellowships at Stanford University, and won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

Anna Shin wrote in the Seattle Contemporary Review of Asian American Literature, "Like a miniaturist painter, Lan Samantha Chang fashions her stories within the tight confines of the Chinese immigrant family. In her debut work, 'Hunger,' Ms. Chang uses skillfully controlled strokes to portray the interstices between parent and child, desire and fear, the past and the future. Throughout the novella and five short stories which comprise 'Hunger,' Ms. Chang's restrained prose enthralls with its sheer elegance, gaining power as much from what is left unsaid as from that which is articulated. Ms. Chang also has the rare ability to fashion tales whose cumulative sum is greater than their individual parts; in her characters' lives, one finds a depth of meaning made universal not despite its specificity, but because of it."

Hillman is the author of seven books of poetry. Her most recent is "Cascadia," published in 2001, described as "a study of geologic as well as internal space, and the seismic shifts that occur in time through each."

Barbara Guest wrote of Hillman's, "Loose Sugar," published in 1997, "Time in Brenda Hillman's poetry resembles loose sugar ground from the cane of Brazil, a vivid detail of her Brazilian childhood."

Hillman's previous books include "Bright Existence," "Death Tractates," "Fortress," "White Dress" and "Coffee 3 A.M."

A reviewer in Choice wrote of "Bright Existence," "The range of images in Hillman's work is astounding . . . . Hillman's ability to perceive the universal in the minute, the strange in the familiar, transforms everyday activities . . . into moments of spiritually charged healing . . . . A fine collection of poems."

In response to "Death Tractates," the critic of Poetry Flash wrote, "Hillman takes poetry quite seriously both because she's a brilliant young mainline poet and because here, trying to cope with the death of a key friend, poetry is all she has."

Hillman's work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Wesleyan Tradition and Best American Poetry, 1990. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Her other honors include the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for Poetry and the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Prize. She is on the faculty of St. Mary's College in Moraga, Cal.

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