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Release: July 9, 2002

UI grad John Beckman will read 'Live from Prairie Lights' July 19

University of Iowa alumnus John Beckman will read from his debut novel, "The Winter Zoo," at 8 p.m. Friday, July 19, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading will be broadcast live on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910, as part of the "Live from Prairie Lights' series. Listen on the internet at

"The Winter Zoo" has been called "A sexy, hilarious novel of wayward young expatriates -- and the difference between doing good and feeling good.

Publishers Weekly described the book as an "over-the-top debut novel, which features plenty of libidinous bed-hopping as well as some postglasnost political intrigue. . . a heady, entertaining brew of politics, sex and intrigue." The critique in Kirkus Reviews concluded, "This is a potent and deeply disturbing portrayal of innocence destroyed and corruption rampant: the work of a most ambitious and unquestionably gifted writer."

As a UI undergraduate Beckman received a Fairall Scholarship -- awarded to students born and raised in Iowa -- through the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has taught literature at universities in Poland, France and California, and he is currently a member of the English faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

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