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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 22, 2003

'Live from Prairie Lights' Features UI Alumnus, UI Press Anthology Oct. 1-2

University of Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus Steve Rinehart and "Visiting Walt," a new Whitman-inspired anthology from the UI Press, will be featured on successive broadcasts of "Live from Prairie Lights," at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 1 and 2. The readings, hosted by Julie Englander, will be broadcast live on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910, from the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City:

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

Rinehart, who made his publishing debut with the acclaimed short-story collection "Kick in the Head," will read from his new novel, "Built in a Day." Set in Iowa City, the novel chronicles the life of an aimless, immature UI dropout as he futilely attempts to grow up and become responsible.

A Publishers Weekly preview described the novel as "a case study in narcissism, arrested adolescence and contemporary male slackerdom."

Writers' Workshop faculty member Chris Offutt wrote, "In careful and precise prose, Steven Rinehart gives us a moving and funny novel about life in the heartland. 'Built in a Day' reveals the contemporary Midwest with a genuine realism -- blended families, chain stores, and the traumas of teenagers. Set in Iowa, it could be anywhere in America."

And critic Jonathan Miles wrote for the New York Times, "The charm of the protagonist, clearly, is not the primary appeal of this novel. The charms of Rinehart's writing, however, more than countervail; though stripped-down and deadpan, his sentences pack a lot of raw, juicy comic power ... 'Built in a Day' is not, in the end, the raw meat for an Adam Sandler movie. Rinehart's imagination is too dark for that, but also too accurate. "

Ed Folsom of the UI English department and co-editor Thom Tammaro will be featured in the reading from "Visiting Walt," compiled from contemporary poets' homages to Walt Whitman.

This volume in the Iowa Whitman Series presents 100 contributions by 100 poets, including Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell, Jorge Louis Borges, Ted Berrigan, Allen Ginsberg, Erica Jong and Pablo Neruda.

"Visiting Emily," the previous volume co-edited by Tammaro and Sheila Coghill, won the 2001 Minnesota Book Award. Tammaro and Coghill are faculty members at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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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,