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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 3, 2003

Re-discovered Cedar Rapids Writer Is On 'Live From Prairie Lights' Schedule Nov. 10-14

University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Dow Mossman, a Cedar Rapids writer whose re-discovery in filmmaker Mark Moskowitz's (left) "The Stone Reader" has led to the republication of his long-out-of-print novel "The Stones of Summer," will be featured on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series during the week of Nov. 10-14. The broadcast readings, hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910, are free events at 8 p.m. in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The full schedule for Nov. 10-14 is:
-- UI International Writing Program veteran Alberto Fuguet on Monday, Nov. 10;
-- poet Peter Gizzi, reading from the new collection "Some Values of Landscape and Weather" on Tuesday, Nov. 11;
-- Mossman on Wednesday, Nov. 12;
-- Writers' Workshop alumnus Joshua Barken, reading from his debut story collection, "Before Hiroshima: The Confessions of Murayama Kazuo," on Thursday, Nov. 13; and
-- Alabama novelist Michael Morris, reading from his new book, "Slow Way Home," on Friday, Nov. 14.

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

Chilean novelist Alberto Fuguet, who participated in the IWP in 1994, is a prominent voice in the literary movement "McOndo", which strives to depict the urban, gritty, Americanized reality of Latin America. "Movies of My Life," his film-linked novel, is his second novel to appear in English translation, following "Bad Vibes."

Critic Keir Graff wrote, "Fuguet, an antimagic realist, creates a thoroughly contemporary coming-of-age tale steeped in sly social analysis, salted with pathos, and leavened with humor."

Lavan Younger Poets Award winner Peter Gizzi, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts, is the author of two previous books of poems, and he is the editor of a critical work on Jack Spicer. Marjorie Perloff wrote, "Gizzi is a master of the mot juste (the exactly right word or phrasing) and of sound structure."

"The Stone Reader," the chronicle of bibliophile Mark Moskowitz's search for the forgotten author of "The Stones of Summer," the long-out-of-print novel that seized his imagination, was the winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature and the Special Grand Jury Honor at the Sundance Film Festival. The success of the film transformed Mossman, who had been living quietly as a welder in Cedar Rapids, into an instant celebrity, and led to the re-publication of his only novel.

Mossman graduated from the Writers' Workshop in 1969, and "The Stones of Summer" was published in 1972, to glowing reviews but little commercial success, resulting in breakdown and retreat.

John Seelye wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "'The Stones of Summer' cannot possibly be called a promising first novel for the simple reason that it is such a marvelous achievement that it puts forth much more than mere promise. Fulfillment is perhaps the best word, fulfillment at the first stroke, which is so often the sign of superior talent. ... Dow Mossman's novel is a whole river of words fed by a torrential imagination. ... For me at least, reading 'The Stones of Summer' was crossing another Rubicon, discovering a different sensibility, a brave new world of consciousness. 'The Stones of Summer' is a holy book, and it burns with a sacred Byzantine fire, a generational fire, moon-fire, stone-fire."

Writers' Workshop graduate Joshua Barkan will read from his first collection of short stories, "Before Hiroshima: The Confessions of Murayama Kazuo." Barkan's title story depicts an old Japanese man wondering whether he could have stopped the tragedy at Hiroshima. Barkan's other stories also have international settings, reflecting his childhood in Kenya, Tanzania, France and India.

A feature in the Baltimore City Review stated, "'Before Hiroshima' is a finished and quite gripping work. An intellectual as well as a moral thriller." And the Times of London review commented, "Barkan is an impressive storyteller who captures a difficult subject with an easy charm."

Michael Morris' "Slow Way Home" is the follow-up to his award-winning "A Place Called Wiregrass." Fellow southern writer Lee Smith called the new book, "A gem -- both gritty and heartwarming. A wonderful emotional read." And Tim Farrington, the author of "The Monk Downstairs," described the books as. "A gentle story suffused with brutal truths, almost fable-like in its resonant simplicity ... a journey well worth taking."

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

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