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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 2, 2003

Two "Bel Canto" Reading Events Added

The "One Community, One Book-Johnson County Reads" project has added the two upcoming special events supporting the 2003 book selection, "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett.

The project had scheduled eight community discussion forums in Johnson County Sept. 22 to Nov. 15 for readers to share their reactions to the book, but two additional events have been added.

"Bel Canto" will be the topic on the "Talk of Iowa" program from 10 to 11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct 8, broadcast on University of Iowa public radio station WSUI 910 AM. The program will feature Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program, and Judith Hurtig, artistic director of Hancher Auditorium. Ann Patchett, author of "Bel Canto," will be available by phone from her home. Dennis Reese, WSUI program director will moderate this program, which will be simultaneously broadcast on WOI in Ames. Listeners can join in the conversation at 1-800-262-0640.

The second event added to the schedule will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21 in Harper Hall, Voxman Music Building on the UI campus. Singers from the UI School of Music will perform arias from operas mentioned in "Bel Canto." The following panelists will discuss the role of music in the book: Gary Race, opera director, UI School of Music; Susan Jones, lecturer and coordinator of Voice/Opera/Choral Programs; Ruthann Boles McTyre, head, Rita Benton Music Library; Casey Cook, owner Cook Appraisals, Avid Opera fan moderator, and Judith Hurtig, artistic director, Hancher Auditorium.

Winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, "Bel Canto" is a moving and often surprising story of terrorism gone awry and the power of music to create unlikely connections between disparate people. It invites contemplation of a range of issues, including human rights concerns and aesthetic questions.

The "One Community, One Book-Johnson County Reads" county-wide reading project, formerly known as "All Johnson County Reads the Same Book," is sponsored by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) and a variety of community and university groups. It is open to all community members interested in broadening their understanding of human rights through reading. A planning committee chose "Bel Canto" last spring, and the project runs from Sept. 22 to Nov. 15.

" One Community, One Book-Johnson County Reads" began in 2001, sponsored by the UI Center for Human Rights, the UI International Writing Program and Prairie Lights Books. Each are sponsoring the project again this year together with Iowa Book LLC, the Coralville Public Library, the Iowa City Public Library, Hancher Auditorium, the Iowa City Human Rights Commission, the UI Charter Committee on Human Rights, the University Book Store and The Gazette. Iowa City High School and West High School Library are also formal participants in the project.

For further details, including a complete schedule of events and questions designed to highlight the human rights aspects of "Bel Canto," visit the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) website at

STORY SOURCE: University News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2550

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,