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University of Iowa News Release

Release: March 28, 2003

Hampl, Carey Among Writers At Prairie Lights April 7-11

A busy week on the "Live from Prairie Lights" readings series, hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature UI Writers' Workshop graduate Patricia Hampl Monday, April 7; memoirist Paula McLain Tuesday, April 8; 2002 International Writing Program participant Edward Carey Wednesday, April 9; and native Iowans Melanie Braverman Thursday, April 10, and Don Nichols Friday, April 11.

The readings will be free events at the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the internet at

Hampl, who is Regents' Professor of English at the University of Minnesota, is a poet, fiction writer and memoirist. Her "Silken Chamber," a meditation on the figure of the courtesan in western art, is forthcoming from Beacon Press.

Her other books include "I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory," "Virgin Time," "Spillville," "Resort and Other Poems," "A Romantic Education" and "Woman Before an Aquarium."

Hampl has been the recipient of a Minnesota Book Award and a Pushcart Prize, as well as National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright and MacArthur fellowships. "I Could Tell You Stories" was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards.

Paula McLain's "Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses" reflects on her experience as a foster child. Margot Livesey, author of "Eva Moves the Furniture" described the book as, "remarkable [for] the depth of understanding that she brings . . . and the beautiful prose in which she renders that understanding."



Carey is a British writer quickly gaining international recognition. He has had five plays produced, most recently an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers." His first novel, "Observatory Mansions," was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Prize.

His new novel is "Alva & Irva," which also features his original artwork. Carey Harrison wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "Entralla, the fictitious metropolis of Edward Carey's second novel, exists not only in our imaginations and in the pages of 'Alva & Irva' (which serves as Entralla's one and only guidebook) but in the form of tiny plasticine models of its streets and houses, seen in appealingly smudgy photographs that punctuate the novel. . . .

"What kind of city is Entralla? Like the photographs, it's smudgy and elusive... To evoke Europe's part and simultaneously to elude it is a tricky project, especially in these haunted times. But Carey writes with persuasive authority, and we are inclined to believe him."

Melanie Braverman, who works at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass., and is the author of the novel "East Justice," published the poetry collection "Red" last year. Former Writers' Workshop faculty member Mark Doty has written that her poems "are a house with all the doors and windows open; the winds of feeling blow through them, and make everything alive with change."



Don Nichols returned to Iowa in 1998 to attend to his dying father and to oversee his parents' investments. His account of this experience is "Currency of the Heart: A Year of Investing, Death, Work, and Coins," published by the UI Press.

A veteran investor and investment author, Nichols found that managing the portfolio entrusted to him brought a larger understanding of mortality, family, love, work, and the choices he had made as "an agri-kid who took the road out of town and kept going."

A review in concluded, "The result is brilliant -- a book that is poetic in its prose, profound and yet effortlessly readable, a book that is full of humor and sorrow, confusion and loss and pride and joy. Time spent in Donald Nichols' head will simultaneously make you want to call your father, count your pennies, investigate whether you should be putting money in Treasury bonds, and wonder what kind of person, really, you are."

Nichols, a graduate of the UI Nonfiction Writing Program, has published eight personal finance books, served as director of communication for the Senate Finance Committee and the U.S. Mint, taught economics and worked for several Fortune 500 firms.

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

CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,