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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 15, 2003

Writer From New Zealand Will Visit Solon School

The University of Iowa Arts Share program is sponsoring a visit by New Zealand writer Paula Morris to Lakeview Elementary School in Solon on Wednesday, Oct. 22. She will teach third grade students about Laura Ingalls Wilder, the South Dakota author who wrote "The Little House on the Prairie."

Morris, who is of English and Maori descent, won the inaugural Schaeffer Fellowship to the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she is now a teaching-writing fellow. In spring 2003 she was the writer-in-residence for the UI International Programs.

Her first novel, "Queen of Beauty," was published last year and was featured on several best-of-2002 book lists in New Zealand. The New Zealand Herald described it as "a stunning debut novel . . . a masterful work," and the NZ Listener called it the "local debut of the year -- a warm, unsentimental portrait of a family in all its confusion and conflicting stories."

In July, 2003 "Queen of Beauty" won the award for best first book of fiction at the New Zealand Book Awards.

The Schaeffer Fellowship program was endowed by UI Writers' Workshop alumnus Glenn Schaeffer, who is the chief financial officer of the Mandalay Resort Group (formerly Circus-Circus) in Las Vegas. He has endowed scholarships at both the UI and in New Zealand, where he maintains a residence, and he recently contributed $1 million toward an addition to the UI Dey House, home of the Writers' Workshop.

The International Institute of Modern Letters, headquartered at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, was established by Schaeffer, and its New Zealand branch is located at Victoria University. The institute nurtures partnering relationships with the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the creative writing program at Cal-Irvine, which was led to prominence by UI alumnus Oakley Hall.

Victoria University is the home of New Zealand's first and most prestigious creative writing program, providing a natural kinship with the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Poet Shannon Welch, a recent graduate of the UI, spent the spring semester leading an "Iowa Workshop" at Victoria University through the exchange program of this partnership initiative.

The UI Arts Share program provides artistic resources from the Iowa Center for the Arts to schools and community organizations. The 2003 Arts Share roster includes more than 75 faculty and graduate students in music, theater, dance, the visual arts and creative writing.

For more information about the Arts Share program, call director Leslie Finer at 319-335-1618 or send an e-mail to

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

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,