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University of Iowa News Release

June 23, 2004

Haruf And Harjo Read On WSUI July 7 and 9

Independence Day week the "Live from Prairie Lights" reading series, hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910 will feature two distinguished graduates of the UI Writers' Workshop -- fiction writer Kent Haruf at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, and poet Joy Harjo at 8 p.m. Friday, July 9. Listen on the Internet at

The programs will be live broadcasts of free events organized by Prairie Lights Books: Haruf's reading will be in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library, and Harjo will read in Buchanan Auditorium of the UI Pappajohn Business Building.

Haruf attracted an instant following and ecstatic reviews with "Plainsong," winner of the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. His novel "The Tie That Binds" received a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation.

His new novel, "Eventide," picks up the lives of many of the small-town characters that won the hearts of readers in "Plainsong."

A Publishers Weekly preview stated, "Haruf's follow-up to the critically acclaimed and bestselling 'Plainsong' is as lovely and accomplished as its predecessor... And while there is much sadness and hardship in this portrait of a community, Haruf's sympathy for his characters, no matter how flawed they are, make this an uncommonly rich novel."

A critique in Kirkus Reviews said, "Haruf sings the second verse of his moving hymn to life on America's great plains... Melancholy truths set to gorgeous melody."

George Wright wrote for the Lincoln Journal Star, "'Eventide' is the story of families. Families coming together and families falling apart. Haruf pushes open the front doors of these homes just enough for us to witness the carefully constructed everyday routines and then the inevitable and sudden acts of desperation. ... Haruf's understated voice, his rendering of the simplest, everyday events that paint stroke by stroke enduring portraits of his characters make 'Eventide' a book that is hard to put down."

Harjo, who belongs to the Muscogee Nation, is a storyteller, musician and the author of six books of poetry. Adrienne Rich said, "I turn and return to Harjo's poetry for her breathtaking complex witness and for her world-remaking language: precise, unsentimental, miraculous."

Her books include "The Woman Who Fell From the Sky," which received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award and "In Mad Love and War," which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award.

She also performs her poetry and plays saxophone with her band, Poetic Justice.

Her many honors include the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the William Carlos Williams Award and fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Harjo's reading is made possible by the UI Graduate College, in conjunction with the 2004 CIC Summer Research Opportunities Program Conference.

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,