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Release: Sept. 26, 2002
UI Writers' Workshop Grads Power And Olsen Read At Prairie Lights
of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduates Susan Power and Lance Olsen will read
from their new work during the Oct. 7-11 broadcasts of "Live from Prairie
Lights," hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910.
The week's free readings, broadcast live from the Prairie Lights bookstore
at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City, will be:
-- Power, reading from her new fiction collection, "Roofwalker,"
winner of this year's Milkweed National Fiction Prize, at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct.
-- Daniel Mason, with editor Robin Dresser, reading from his first novel,
"The Piano Tuner," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8;
-- Olsen, reading from his new book, "Girl Imagined by Chance,"
in a joint event with "extreme" writer Harold Jaffe, the editor
of Fiction International, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9;
-- Hyptertext poet Stephanie Strickland, presenting work from her new volume,
"V: WaveSon.nets/Losing L'una," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10; and
-- Native American writer Debra Magpie Earling, reading from her novel "Perma
Red" at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.
A Publishers Weekly preview explained that in "Roofwalker," "Power
continues to explore her Native American heritage in this short story collection,
a poignant, evocative follow-up to her PEN/Hemingway Award-winning first book,
'The Grass Dancer.'"
Describing Power's writing, the critic of the New York Times wrote, "This
is not magic realism, which consciously alters the world in order to expand
its circumference, but a factual representation of reality as it is perceived
by the characters . . . a healing vision that goes to the core of our humanity."
Daniel Mason's debut novel, "The Piano Tuner," is the story of
Edgar Drake, commissioned by the British War Office in 1886 to travel to hostile
Burma to repair a rare Erard grand piano vital to the Crown's strategic interests.
Joanne Wilkinson wrote for Booklist, "A gifted storyteller and writer,
Mason uses translucent prose rich with metaphor and allusion to call up Conrad's
signature theme of the voyage into the wilderness."
Arthur Golden, author of the best-seller "Memoirs of a Geisha,"
wrote, "Daniel Mason has woven together an elegant and unusually engrossing
story, one that offers the reader the best possible journey -- into a world
that no longer exists. Rich, atmospheric, and evocative of the sights, smells
and textures of 19th-century Burma, 'The Piano Tuner' is an astonishingly
accomplished first novel."
Lance Olsen, Philip K. Dick Award finalist and Pushcart Prize recipient,
is author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed speculative
novels, "Tonguing the Zeitgeist," "Time Famine," "Freaknest"
and "Burnt." He received his master of fine arts degree from the
Writers' Workshop in 1980, and later taught in the MFA program at the University
Olsen's recent book "Sewing My Eyes Shut" was described as "an
avant-pop anti-spectacle," and Carole Maso described it as "An exhilarating,
high-octane performance . . . at once frenzied and furious and tender."
Jaffe, whose 10 books include "Sex for the Millennium," "Straight
Razor" and "Saints and Serial Killers," will read from his
new collection, "False Positive," which teases out the subtexts
of actual newspaper articles.
Don Webb, author of "Endless Honeymoon," observed that Olsen's
"Freaknest" "has the careful world building of a Bruce Sterling,
the horror and comedy of William S. Burroughs, and the adventures and great
characters of an Alfred Bester."
A hypertext pioneer, Stephanie Strickland pushes the boundaries of the printed
word. Her new volume is an invertible book with two beginnings. She is the
author of three volumes of poetry and winner of the Brittingham Prize for
"The Red Virgin: A Poem of Simone Weil." Her work has appeared in
journals including the Paris Review, the Kenyon Review, the Iowa Review, Double
Take, Prairie Schooner, the Electronic Book Review and Ploughshares, and she
has produced several hypertext version of her works, including "Ballad
of Sand" and "Harry Soot."
Debra Magpie Earling's debut novel explores life in the tiny reservation
town of Perma, Mont., through the problems and passions of Louise White Elk.
Bill Ott, writing for Booklist, called the book "a love story of uncommon
depth and power, a love story that is as painful as it is transcendent, a
love story in which the lovers, like Birkin and Ursula in Lawrence's 'Women
in Love,' are unwilling to diminish themselves in the act of joining together
but are equally unable to turn away."
David Abrams wrote for January magazine, "Debra Magpie Earling's debut
novel 'Perma Red' is something of a miracle. The University of Montana creative
writing professor began writing it in 1984 and, over the years, it has been
through at least nine different rewrites, trimmed from an epic-length 800
pages to a compact 288, burned to a crisp in a house fire, and rejected by
publishers who loved the writing but thought the original ending too dark
and brutal. Through it all, Earling persevered and the novel stands as a testament
to her faith and patience."
Earling is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the
Flathead Indian Reservation. Her work has appeared in "The Last Best
Place: A Montana Anthology," "Talking Leaves: An Anthology of Contemporary
Native American Short Stories," "Circle of Women: Anthology of Western
Women Writers" and "Wild Women: Anthology of Women Writers,"
as well as in numerous literary journals.
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