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Release: Oct. 3, 2002

Photos: Elizabeth McCracken (top), Edward Carey.

Writers' Workshop's McCracken Reads With IWP's Carey

Fiction writer and librarian Elizabeth McCracken, a visiting faculty member in the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, will be joined by International Writing Program participant Edward Carey from Great Britain for a free reading at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building.

McCracken’s most recent book is the novel “Niagara Falls All Over Again,” which was published last year and will appear in paperback next month.

Critic Rob Cline wrote, “It is difficult to imagine this story being told any better than McCracken tells it. ‘Niagara Falls All Over Again’ reminds us that the relationships that bring us the most joy and those that bring us the most pain are often one and the same.”

McCracken first grabbed the attention of the literary world in 1993, with “Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry,” a collection of short stories she developed while she was a student at the Writers’ Workshop. The New York Times Book Review carried a review of the collection that stated, “if these stories are about people who are taken in -- in all senses of the word -- they are also about the way in which the world’s misanthropes, with their odd shapes and ragged edges, knit themselves into the fabric of life.”

Her other book is “The Giant's House,” a novel about the relationship of a lonely librarian with an 11-year-old boy she meets at the circulation desk. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the book led Granta magazine to name her one of the Best Young American Novelists..

Carey is a writer quickly gaining international recognition. He has had five plays produced, most recently an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers.” His novel “Observatory Mansions,” a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Prize, is being marketed in 10 countries. This fresh take on the Gothic novel, and his forthcoming novel “Alva and Irva,” contain his original artwork.

Margee Smith wrote about “Observatory Mansions” for Library Journal, “This unique work is haunting in both setting and story.” And Sharon Greene wrote for Booklist, “’Observatory Mansions’ is strangely uplifting, positing that there is no human spirit so wounded that it does not strive to heal.”

The critic of the Detroit Free Press called the book, “a triumphant argument for how brilliant the novel can still be,” and a review in USA Today suggested, “Readers who complain there’s no originality left in the world should visit ‘Observatory Mansions.’”

Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers’ residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature. The IWP brings established writers of the world to the UI, where they become part of the lively literary community on campus. Over the years, nearly a thousand writers from more than 115 countries have completed residencies in the program. This fall’s program includes 36 writers from 30 countries. Carey is participating through the support of the U.S. Department of State.

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