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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 14, 2004

New York Times Book Review Recommends UI-Connected Books

Those considering literary holiday gifts might find it of interest that three of the New York Times Book Review "10 Best Books 2004" are University of Iowa-connected, as are nearly a fifth of its "Notable Books of the Year" in fiction and poetry. The magazine identified its notable books in the Dec. 5 issue, and its 10 best in the Dec. 12 issue.

Among 2004's 10 best, in the opinion of the magazine's editors, are:

--"Gilead," the much anticipated second novel by Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member Marilynne Robinson.

--"Snow" by Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, a veteran of the UI International Writing Program.

--"The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth, a former faculty member of the Writers' Workshop.

The magazine's editors described Robinson's book as a "grave, lucid, luminously spiritual novel," and recommended Pamuk's book as a "prescient, complexly orchestrated novel" in which "the forces of secular and Islamic Turkey collide." Roth's book was described as "an ingenious 'anti-historical' novel."

Among the publications 42 notable books of fiction and poetry are (in addition to the Robinson, Roth and Pamuk books):

--"American Smooth: Poems" by former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, a graduate of the UI Writers' Workshop.

--"Collected Poems," the posthumously published compilation by Donald Justice, a graduate of the workshop, a long-time faculty member and a resident of Iowa City until his recent death.

--"The First Desire," the debut novel by Iowa Short Fiction Award-winner Nancy Reisman.

--"The Inner Circle" by workshop alumnus T. Coraghessan Boyle, a workshop graduate who also holds a doctorate from the UI.

--"The Stone That the Builder Refused" by former workshop faculty member Madison Smartt Bell.

The Writers' Workshop is part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 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,