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University of Iowa News Release

May 30, 2003

Four Novelists Read "Live From Prairie Lights" June 9-13

"Live from Prairie Lights," the series of broadcast readings hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature four new novels June 9-13:

--Margaret George, reading from her new novel, "Mary Called Magdalene," at 8 p.m. Monday, June 9.
--Poet and fiction writer Regina McBride, reading from her new novel, "The Land of Women," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 11.
--Indian novelist Indu Sundaresan, reading from her latest book, "The Feast of Roses," at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 12.
--Well-known essayist Meghan Daum, reading from her debut novel, "The Quality of Life Report," at 8 p.m. Friday, June 13.

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

Margaret George has built her reputation with hefty novels about historical figures -- "The Memoirs of Cleopatra" and "The Autobiography of Henry VIII, With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers." With "Mary Called Magdalene" she tackles one of the enigmatic characters in the Bible.

Critic Emily Russin wrote, "What makes this a compelling read is that Mary's story connects humanity with faith in a way that's possible to understand, whatever our contemporary beliefs," and a critique in Kirkus Reviews called the book, "Engaging and intelligent fiction that celebrates one of Christianity's great women."

Regina McBride made her fiction debut with the gothic novel "The Nature of Water and Air," enriched by Irish folklore. She returns to this location and tradition in "The Land of Women," a tale of love and betrayal.

An Elle magazine review praised the book for its "Sensuous attention to detail and rhythmic prose," and a review in Library Journal observed, "Irish folklore [adds] more enchantment to an already intriguing tale."

Indu Sundaresan's "The Feast of Roses" continues the imperial love story she began in "The Twentieth Wife" -- a fictionalization of the love that led to the building of the Taj Mahal.

A Chicago Tribune review described her work as "good old-fashioned historical fiction," and a review in the Library Journal concluded, "Sundaresan writes in the great tradition of the Indian epic, an art she carries forward with grace and brilliance."

Meghan Daum is also the author of the essay collection "My Misspent Youth." A Publishers Weekly preview of "The Quality of Life Report," the comic tale of a New Yorker relocating to the Midwest, concludes, "It is a confident first novel, full of wit and deft social criticism, often very funny and frequently wise. Daum is a rising star."

Daum has contributed to publications including The New Yorker, Harper's, Vanity Fair, Vogue, O, GQ, Self and Glamour, as well as to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and "This American Life."

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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,