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University of Iowa News Release

April 15, 2004

Frank Conroy Of Iowa Writers' Workshop Reads April 28

Frank Conroy (left), the long-time director of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from his new book, "Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, in Lecture Room 2 of Van Allen Hall.

The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

Other "Live from Prairie Lights" broadcasts that week, from the Prairie Lights book store at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City, will be:

--Writers' Workshop alumnus and Cornell College emeritus faculty member Robert Dana (right) reading from his new poetry collection, "The Morning of the Red Admirals," at 8 p.m. Monday, April 26.

--Writers' Workshop alumna Faith Adiele, reading from her new book, "Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun in Thailand," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 27.

--Paula W. Peterson, reading from "Women in the Grove," her collection of short stories about women living with HIV, at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 29.

Christopher Merrill, director of the UI International Writing Program, wrote of Dana's new collection, "Like the red admiral, which uses all of the known wing strokes of flying insects, Robert Dana employs an astonishing range of poetic strategies to describe the pleasure and pain of this fraught moment in our history. And just as the brightly colored butterfly animates these pages, now lighting on a domestic scene, now flitting through a meditation on the nature of poetry, so Dana steps lightly 'down some moonless fractal, wild refraction, unpredictable reflection.' His clarity of vision and economy of means enact an exuberant encounter with the world; his vivid reading of his walk in the sun -- 'Alive on the breath-edge of metaphor' -- is at once bracing and wise. Robert Dana is a magnificent poet."

This is Dana's 10th collection of poems. A winner of the Pushcart Prize, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award and the Carl Sandburg Medal for Poetry, Dana was poet-in-residence at Cornell College for 40 years.

Faith Adiele (right), the daughter of a Nordic-American mother and Nigerian father, was raised in a small farming community in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. She holds a bachelor's degree in Southeast Asian Studies from Harvard College in addition to UI degrees in both fiction and nonfiction, and she has returned to the UI to teach travel writing in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She is on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh.

Adiele's honors include a UNESCO International Artists Bursary, nomination for Best American Essays 2002, the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize from Crab Orchard Review, the Millennium Award from Creative Nonfiction, second prize from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, the Willard R. Espy Literary Foundation Award, the Dorothy & Granville Hicks Residence in Literature from the Yaddo Corporation and Pen New England Emerging Writer.

She says of her new book, "In the course of researching Buddhist nuns in Thailand, I decided to ordain for a temporary period. I was intrigued by the women I met, and the obvious peace and wisdom they had found in the face of social ridicule. So I shaved my head and eyebrows and moved into the forest, complete with forest fires, flying rats, giant iguanas, first-sized spiders and decomposing corpses.

"Only after ordaining did I discover -- to my horror -- that I'd chosen to reside in an intensive meditation retreat. This meant that residents took a vow of silence, subsisted on a single daily meal, rose at 3:30 AM and spent 19 hours a day in meditative practice. I had never meditated before."

Frank Conroy splits time between Iowa and Nantucket Island, off Cape Cod in Massachusetts. In "Time and Tide," he explores this "small, relaxed oasis in the ocean." Part travel diary, part memoir, the book is a personal journey through the island, with its sweeping dunes, rugged moors, remote beaches, secret fishing spots and cranberry bogs -- and his own experiences there.

Conroy's past work includes the classic memoir "Stop-Time," the story collection "Midair," the novel "Body and Soul" and the journalistic collection, "Dogs Bark but the Caravan Rolls On."

Paula Peterson's story collection follows "Penitent with Roses," a memoir of her life as an HIV-positive mother. A Publishers Weekly preview concluded, "she delivers a series of tough epiphanies."

Whitney Scott wrote for the American Library Association's Booklist, "Black, white, living, barely alive, ghosts -- all the characters in Peterson's short stories about women with HIV and AIDS speak in assured, authentic voices that grip one's attention. . . An engrossing collection that leaves one wanting more such stories."

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