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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 22, 2003

'Live From Prairie Lights' Features IWP Guest Michael Hofmann Sept. 4

"Live from Prairie Lights," the series of broadcast readings hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature acclaimed German poet and translator Michael Hofmann, a guest of the International Writing Program, 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Other free readings that week include:
-- fiction writer and social critic Curtis White reading from "The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves," on Tuesday, Sept. 2;
-- Drake University fiction writer John Domini reading from his novel "Talking Heads: 77" on Wednesday, Sept. 3; and
-- Nell Freudenberger reading from her keenly anticipated debut short-story collection, "Lucky Girls," on Friday, Sept. 5.

Listen to the readings -- America's only radio series of live readings -- on the internet at

Illinois State University faculty member Curtis White's books include "Monstrous Possibility: An Invitation to Literary Politics," the story collection "Metaphysics in the Midwest" and the novels "Requiem" and "Memories of My Father Watching TV."

In an introduction to his new book he explains, "The Middle Mind is pragmatic, plainspoken, populist, contemptuous of the Right's narrowness, and incredulous before the Left's convolutions. It is adventuresome, eclectic, spiritual, and in general agreement with liberal political assumptions about race, gender and class. The Middle Mind really rather liked Bill Clinton, thoroughly supported his policies, but wished that the children didn't have to know so much about his personal life."

John Domini, the author "Highway Trade," has published fiction in the Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other journals and anthologies. He has received honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize, and his first story collection, "Bedlam," was listed in Library Journal as one of the best books from small presses.

Pulitzer Prize-winning UI alumnus Robert Olen Butler wrote of Domini's new novel, "John Domini has brilliantly turned one of literary fiction's neatest tricks: he has vividly and accurately evoked a past time and milieu-the alternative cultural scene of the mid-'70s-and in the process he has illuminated our own times with dazzling clarity. 'Talking Heads: 77' also manages to be both cutting-edge innovative and splendidly readable. This book is a flat-out delight."

Michael Hofmann was born in Germany but raised and educated in England. He is the son of novelist Gert Hofmann, his translation of his father's novel "The Film Explainer" won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 1995.

In addition to writing five books of poetry, he has translated more than 30 works by German-language writers including Bertolt Brecht, Joseph Roth, Wim Wenders and Franz Kafka. He has won the Translators' Association's Schlegel-Tieck Prize, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the P.E.N./Book of the Month Club Translation Prize and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize.

A selection of his criticism, "Behind the Lines: Pieces on Writing and Pictures," was published in 2002, and he has edited and introduced short selections of the poems of Robert Lowell and John Berryman. For his poetry he has won a Cholmondeley Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and an English Arts Council grant.

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 year's program will host 25 writers representing 21 countries.

"Lucky Girls" is the debut collection by an author who first came to national attention with the 2001 publication of the title story in the New Yorker fiction issue. Richard Ford wrote, "Every story in this remarkable collection reveals the emergence of a truly prodigious talent."

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

OTHER INFORMATION: Garrison Keillor will also be featured on "Live from Prairie Lights" on Saturday, Sept. 6. Since this event is presented in the context of a WSUI fundraiser, it will be the subject of a separate news release.