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Release: April 4, 2003

UI Alumni Weiss, Lynch and D'Agata Return For April 14-18 WSUI Broadcasts

University of Iowa alumni D.B. Weiss, Alessandra Lynch and John D'Agata will be featured on a jam-packed week of "Live from Prairie Lights" broadcasts April 14-18, hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the internet at

The readings -- all free 8 p.m. events in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City -- will feature Will Rhode on Monday April 14; Weiss on Tuesday, April 15; Lynch on Wednesday, April 16; D'Agata on Thursday, April 17; and Nina Revoyr on Friday, April 18.

Rhode's "Paperback Original" (photo) is a new take on a familiar plot, the will that requires a layabout child to accomplish some improbable and out-of-character task in order to inherit a fortune. In this case, a hash-smoking British idler in India must write a novel in which his father is a character. With no writing experience, he devises a outlandish and dangerous plan to develop plot material.

A preview in Booklist concluded, "With all the plot twists of your average paperback original plus all the witty angst of a twentysomething's memoirs, this is one illusion that's easy to love." And a Publishers Weekly preview commented, "The sheer originality of the plot keeps the pages turning."

Rhode worked for Reuters in India, made films in Thailand and wrote financial journalism in Hong Kong before taking the plunge as a novelist.

A Boston Globe review dubbed D.B. Weiss' fiction debut, "Lucky Wander Boy," "The Great American Videogame Novel."

Adam Davies, author of "The Frog King" called this novel about the search for the perfect video game, "a hip, wry, and knowing boy-meets-videogame love story. D.B. Weiss is a fierce humorist with a vital heart of silicon."

And Steve Erickson, author of "Tours of the Black Clock" and "The Sea Came in at Midnight" wrote, "Savvy and whip-smart, written with edgy panache and nary a false step, 'Lucky Wander Boy' . . . takes flight from its own moorings, spinning out across a pop obsessive's private universe into its own northern lights, to the distant voices of lost loves, restless girlfriends and seductive Asian video queens with more exotic pastimes in mind -- a novel not of this moment but the next."

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Weiss earned a Masters of Philosophy in Irish Literature from Trinity College in Dublin before coming to the UI.



Alessandra Lynch's debut poetry collection is "Sails the Wind Left Behind."

UI poetry alumnus Thomas Lux wrote, "Alessandra Lynch possesses one of the most truly poetic imaginations I have ever encountered. Her metaphors slide seamlessly one into another and the logic of her illogic is so lucid I feel, reading her, like I've entered a new and delightful land. This is a brilliant debut."

And Molly Peacock, president emeritus of the Poetry Society of America, added, "Daring, disarming Alessandra Lynch is like a golden wind. She aims to envelop a reader in gusts of poems, transparent, yet mysterious. Lynch has much more than a story to tell -- she has muses to consort with and animal identities to assume. Forget the homespun and the plainspoken. Here is poetry you can lose yourself in, be thrilled about, perplexed over, surprised and satisfied inside."

Lynch's poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Ploughshares, Quarterly West and other journals.

John D'Agata, who holds degrees from both the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the UI Nonfiction Writing Program, is the leading exponent of a genre of writing that in the last few years has come to be called the "lyric essay."

The editor of lyric essays for the Seneca Review, he is also the author of the essay collection "Halls of Fame" (photo) and editor of "The Next American Essay." He is the winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction.

Philip Lopate, editor of "The Art of the Personal Essay," wrote, "John D'Agata is pushing the envelope of the modern American essay. A maximalist's intellectual curiosity collides with a minimalist's austere lyricism to produce results that are novel, intriguing, and haunting."

Nina Revoyr is the only child of a white American father and a Japanese mother, and she grew up in both Tokyo and Wisconsin. Now based in Los Angeles, she is the author of "The Necessary Hunger," and she has just published her second novel, "Southland." (photo)

Critic Jabari Asim wrote in the Washington Post Book World: "'Southland,' Nina Revoyr's subtle, effective second novel, brings to mind an observation attributed to immigration historian Marcus Lee Hansen and commonly described as Hansen's Law: What the son wishes to forget, the grandson wishes to remember."

Revoyr is an Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund Winner, a recipient of the Constance Saltonstall Foundation's Individual Artist's Grant and winner of the John M. and Emily B. Clark Distinguished Teaching Award.

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