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Release: June 12, 2002

WSUI's 'Live from Prairie Lights' features Richard Russo June 18

Richard Russo will read from his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, "Empire Falls," on Tuesday, June 18 at 8 p.m. in Shambaugh Auditorium as part of the "Live from Prairie Lights" broadcasts on WSUI-AM 910, the University of Iowa's public radio station.

Joining Russo will be new writer Julia Glass, who will be reading from her first novel, "Three Junes," which reveals the interconnected lives of different generations of the McLeod family over the course of three crucial summers.

In "Empire Falls," Russo has transformed the satirical story of one small town into an exploration of the human condition. The book delves into the blue-collar heart of America with the story of a man who has been flipping burgers for the last 20 years of his life. The job cost him his college education and much of his self-respect, yet he refuses to leave.

Russo grew up in Gloversville, N.Y., a middle-class town that has served as a prototype for the fictional towns in "Empire Falls" and two other novels, "Mohawk," and "The Risk Pool." His other book, "Nobody's Fool," was recently made into a feature film starring Paul Newman and Bruce Willis. Russo currently teaches writing at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Hosted by Julie Englander, "Live from Prairie Lights" is aired on WSUI-AM 910. Other upcoming readings begin at 8 p.m., and are free and open to the public at the Prairie Lights Bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. They include:

-- June 21: Novelist Timothy Schaffert will read from his first book, "The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters," a story of two sisters as they try to overcome the wounds of their childhood.

-- June 24: Poet Bruce Bond will read from his fourth collection, "The Throats of Narcissus." Bond is currently the director of creative writing at North Texas University.

-- June 25: Jean Harfenist will read from her new book, "A Brief History of the Flood."

This series of eleven stories chronicles the life Lillian Anderson and her family in the small Minnesota town of Acorn Lake, as Lillian journeys from eight years old to 18.

-- June 26: Katherine Towler will read from her celebrated new novel, "Snow Island," a poignant novel about a girl coming of age during World War II.

-- June 28: Novelist John Wray will read from "The Right Hand of Sleep," a moral tale of Germany and Austria between the world wars.