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University of Iowa News Release

June 17, 2004

"Live From Prairie Lights" Re-Schedules Lewis Robinson Week Of June 28-July 2

The reading by University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Lewis Robinson, postponed from the spring, will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, July 2, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

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

The full schedule of 8 p.m. "Live from Prairie Lights" broadcasts that week will be:
--Wisconsin novelist Larry Watson reading from "Orchid" on Monday, June 28.
--Novelist Sandra Scofield reading from the memoir "Occasions of Sin" on Tuesday, June 29.
--Milwaukee Poet Laureate Marilyn L. Taylor reading from "Subject to Change" on Thursday, July 1.
--Robinson reading from the short-story collection "Officer Friendly" on Friday, July 2.

Watson, the author of the critically acclaimed "Montana 1948," has enhanced his reputation with his latest novel, "Orchard."

A Publishers Weekly preview commented, "Showing a deep maturity of thought and craft, Watson surpasses himself in his sixth novel, an uncompromising, perfectly calibrated double portrait of two couples in rural Wisconsin in the 1950s. . . . Sentences and chapters unfurl with a sense of inevitability, and the narrative possesses an uncommon integrity."

Watson has won the Milkweed Fiction Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association Regional Award and many other literary prizes.

Sandra Scofield's "Occasions of Sin" is a memoir of an adolescence in a doomed Texas family. Karen Joy Fowler called the account "A beautiful, painful book about religion, family, sex and loss."

Joanne Wilkinson wrote for Booklist, "The author of "Opal on Dry Ground" (1994), a finalist for the National Book Award, Scofield here turns her hand to a memoir recalling her Catholic girlhood and the long months of her mother's dying. It has taken her 40 years to write 'past the anger and grief and silence, back to my mother.' In her carefully measured prose, Scofield makes vivid the repressive 1950s, especially for Catholics, specifically for women.

"Her mother, Edith, bore her out of wedlock in poverty-stricken circumstances. Although Edith eventually married and had more children, she was plagued by ill health. Her meager prospects seemed only to fuel her imagination and her desire to set herself apart. She fervidly embraced Catholicism and, in so doing, found the key to a better education for her children. When Edith succumbed to kidney disease, Sandra, angered and bewildered by her mother's death, and shut out by her father's new wife, entered adolescence with a vengeance. This is a deeply reflective and heartrending account conveying all that is lost when a child loses her mother."

Marilyn L. Taylor, who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has published four previous collections of poetry. "She is an effortless formalist, as deft with the sonnet as she is with (seemingly) casual speech," in the description by Ronald Wallace.

Rachel Hadas wrote, "Marilyn Taylor's poems are witty without brittleness and warmhearted without sentimentality. They are, in addition, poised, confident, and shapely. 'Subject to Change' is a robust, pleasurable, accomplished collection, vivid, poignant and frequently funny."

An A.E. Stallings adds, "From start to finish, Marilyn Taylor's 'Subject to Change' takes on the big themes: aging and death, love and its betrayals, the secrets lurking beneath the surface of family life. . . . Taylor also shines at what is sometimes dismissed as 'light verse,' transforming stanzas on the Nissan Stanza into a surprising 'ars poetica.'"

Lewis Robinson will read from his ecstatically received first collection of stories, "Officer Friendly," which Elizabeth Strout called "Funny, unexpected and always oddly poignant."

A Publishers Weekly preview proclaimed, "Robinson establishes himself as a writer with a seductive, edgy voice in this dark debut collection." And a preview in the New York Time Book Review concluded, "Robinson has that rare power . . . to make a setting breathe, to invest it with a vitality that seems as authentic and intense as the pulse beats of his characters."

Esquire's review called the book a "faultless debut collection. Combining vivid characters with a pulsing narrative drive, these pieces are tight like Carver's work is tight. . . . Robinson is tremendously adept at building menace slowly, quietly, and the shocks as these stories unfold is one of their greatest pleasures."

Robinson was born in Natick, Mass., and grew up in Maine. He attended Middlebury College before attending the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was a teaching-writing fellow and winner of the Glenn Schaeffer Award. He has written for Sports Illustrated and the Boston Globe, and has had day jobs ranging from fire warden to crab slaughterer.

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

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