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University of Iowa News Release

July 8, 2004

Iowa Alumnae Ford, Stefaniak Read ‘Live from Prairie Lights’ July 19-22

The "Live from Prairie Lights" reading series, hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910 will feature versatile writer Mary Helen Stefaniak and poet Katie Ford, alumnae of the UI Writers' Workshop the week of July 19. The full schedule of broadcast events that week is:

--Screenwriter George Hagen reading from "The Laments," his first novel, at 8 p.m. Monday, July 19.
--Ford, with fellow Iowa Summer Writing Festival faculty member Douglas Goetsch, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 20.
--Stefaniak reading from her debut novel, "The Turk and My Mother," at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 22.

Each reading will be a free event in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at

"The Laments," begins with babies switched at birth in South Africa and continues with an affably dysfunctional family on the road from Rhodesia to New Jersey. A review in the Washington Post Book World described the book as "a nice story about familiar and durable matters: family, love, identity, loyalty. George Hagen obviously has a good heart, and he has created people who share that admirable quality."

Elizabeth Strout, author of "Amy and Isabelle," called the book "A vital international journey through the vicissitudes of family life. This story, centering on the timeless theme of a child swapped at birth, is immensely readable, funny, and touching -- a complete joy."

Katie Ford boasts an unusual set of credentials -- Master of Divinity from Harvard and Master of Fine Arts from the UI. She is the author of a book of poems, "Deposition," and her work has also been published in Ploughshares, the Partisan Review, the Seneca Review, Poets & Writers and elsewhere. In 2003 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize. Ford is a faculty member at Loyola University in New Orleans, where she teaches writing and literature.

Douglas Goetsch is the author of the recently published "The Job of Being Everybody," "Nobody's Hell" and three award-winning chapbooks. His poems, essays and reviews have appeared in Poetry, the Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, Third Coast and on-line at PoetryDaily. He runs a creative writing program for incarcerated teens at Passages Academy in New York City, and is founding editor of Jane Street Press.

Goetsch has received two poetry fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Paumanok Award, the John Harms National Reading Prize, a Prairie Schooner Reader's Choice Award, a University of Chicago Outstanding Teacher Award and two Pushcart Prize nominations. He has won the Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Prize, the Permafrost Chapbook Competition, the Aldrich Award and the 2003 CSU Poetry Center Open Book Competition.

Mary Helen Stefaniak's fiction and essays have appeared in many publications, including New Stories from the South (Algonquin) and In the Middle of the Middle West (Indiana University Press). "Self Storage and Other Stories" received the 1998 Banta Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, and other work has been short-listed for the O'Henry Prize. She teaches at Creighton University in Omaha, and is back in Iowa City to teach in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Jonis Agee called "The Turk and My Mother" "a journey across continents and history that is hilarious, heart-breaking, and deeply touching." And Sandra Scofield wrote, "'The Turk and My Mother' is a wild ride through a symphonic family history that carries you breathless with laughter and curiosity to a most satisfying conclusion."

The Writers' Workshop is an academic unit 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,