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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 10, 2003

'Live From Prairie Lights' Week Of Oct. 20-24 Includes UI Alumna Naslund

"Live from Prairie Lights," the series of broadcast readings hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature UI Writer's Workshop alumna Sena Jeter Naslund at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The full schedule of 8 p.m. broadcast readings at the book store that week is:
-- Mississippi novelist Larry Brown on Monday, Oct. 20;
-- Naslund reading from her new novel, "Four Spirits," on Wednesday, Oct. 22; and
-- Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, co-sponsored by the UI International Writing Program, on Friday, Oct. 24.

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

Brown will read from his new novel, "Rabbit Factory," a literary entertainment filled with unusual southern characters and their extravagant misadventures.

Brad Hooper wrote for Booklist, "Brown is a much-beloved writer who was put on the literary map primarily by his very popular novel 'Joe' (1991). His latest will not only please his fans but also win him new ones... you definitely can't go wrong with a novel that has dogs as fully developed characters in their own right."

Brown's other books include "Fay," "Dirty Work" and the story collection "Big Bad Love."

Sena Naslund's new novel, "Four Spirits," is set in her hometown, Birmingham, Ala., during the era of civil rights demonstrations. A Publishers Weekly preview stated, "In its authentic, balanced evocation of daily life across a wide spectrum of the black and white communities, this novel justifies its length and measured pace, and credibly renders the faith and courage that brought redemption to a blood-soaked city."

Will Blythe wrote in the New York Times, "The book's last act, involving the murder of four protesters at a sit-in, is violent and shocking and leads to one of the few sermons in contemporary literature that I can recall as vital and moving."

Naslund's other books include "Ahab's Wife," "Sherlock in Love," "The Disobedience of Water" and "Ice Skating on the North Pole."

The recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Kentucky Arts Council, Naslund directs the creative writing program at University of Louisville. In 1976 she founded the Louisville Review along with the Fleur-de-Lis Press. She is also on the faculty of Vermont College.

Her fiction has been published in the Paris Review, the Georgia Review, the Iowa Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review (where she won the Lawrence Prize in fiction), the Indiana Review and the Alaska Quarterly Review.

Chimamanda Adichie will read from her debut novel, "Purple Hibiscus." Jason Crowley wrote in the London Times, "'Purple Hibiscus' is the best debut I have read since Arundhati Roy's 'The God of Small Things.'

A Publishers Weekly preview summarized, "By turns luminous and horrific, this debut ensnares the reader from the first page and lingers in the memory long after its tragic end. . . In a soft, searing voice, Adichie examines the complexities of family, faith and country through the haunted but hopeful eyes of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. Lush, cadenced and often disconcerting, this is an accomplished first effort."

Adichie left Nigeria at 19 and moved to the United States, where she studied communication and political science at Connecticut State University.

Her fiction has been published in Canadian, British and American journals including Prism International, Wasafiri and the Iowa Review. Her short stories have been selected for the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association award as well as the BBC short story award. She was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002.

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