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University of Iowa News Release

April 2, 2004

Prairie Lights Readings Include UI Schaeffer Fellows Morris And Livesey

"Live from Prairie Lights," the literary readings series hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature New Zealand writers Paul Morris (left) and Anna Livesey -- recent recipients of the Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship to the UI Writers' Workshop -- during its broadcasts April 14-16.

The broadcasts from the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City will be:
-- Grinnell College faculty member Victoria Brown reading from "The Education of Jane Addams" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 14;
-- Iowa City native Leslie Pietrzyk reading from her novel "A Year and a Day" at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 15; and
-- fiction writer Morris and poet Livesey reading from their recent work at 8 p.m. Friday, April 16.

Admission is free to the readings at Prairie Lights bookstore, or listen to the broadcasts on the internet at

Brown is a member of the history faculty at Grinnell, where she chairs the gender and women's studies concentration and is active in the Center for Prairie Studies.

Jane Addams -- considered the mother of contemporary social work -- was one of America's most famous and influential women in the "Progressive Era." Committed pacifist and champion of social progress, she was portrayed by the popular media of her time as America's only saint.

In 1889 Addams co-founded the world famous Hull-House in Chicago. She wrote 11 books, was featured speaker throughout the country and around the world, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

"A Year and a Day" is Pietrzyk's second novel. A Publishers Weekly preview observed, "In this heartfelt if familiar coming-of-age novel set in smalltown Shelby, Iowa, in 1975, Pietrzyk ('Pears on a Willow Tree') chronicles a year in the life of 15-year-old Alice Martin after her mother's suicide. . . Eccentric mothers and long-suffering daughters are a dime a dozen in recent fiction, but Pietrzyk paints a rich picture of life in rural Iowa."

Critic Susan Dooley wrote, "With impressive attention to detail, Pietrzyk successfully recreates life in the '70s in a small Iowa town. These include summer jobs de-tasseling the corn and the radio advice of 'Dotty King's Neighborly Visit,' 'coming at you live on KXIC-800' with tips on ridding the garden of slugs or a listener's request for 'beef stew made with Coca-Cola.'"

The Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship was established by the UI Writers' Workshop alumnus at Victoria University in Wellington, N.Z.

Paula Morris, the 2002 recipient, will read from her novel "Queen of Beauty," which won the 2001 Adam Foundation Prize for Creative Writing. The New Zealand Herald described the book as "a stunning debut novel . . . a masterful work."

At the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2003, Morris was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for fiction. She was the writer-in-residence at for UI International Programs in the spring of 2003.

Anna Livesey, the 2003 fellow, has had poems published in Sport, Landfall, Takahe, Turbine and Poetry New Zealand. She has won the Macmillan Brown Prize twice for the long poems "South Seas Analecta" and "Napier." She is also the winner of the 2003 Bank of New Zealand Novice Writers Award

Her first volume of poetry, just published in the United States, is "Good Luck." The Capital Times recommended, "It is the good humor in many of her shorter works that makes 'Good Luck' a good read. It is not comic poetry, but it is amusing and evocative."

Schaeffer, who is the chief financial officer of the Mandalay Resort Group (formerly Circus-Circus) in Las Vegas, has become increasingly active as a literary philanthropist. 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.

The Writers' Workshop is a unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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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,