The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 21, 2004

Nov. 4 WSUI Reading Features Iowa Short Fiction Winner Nancy Reisman

Nancy Reisman, a winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, will read from her novel "The First Desire" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, 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 University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

Iowa Writers' workshop faculty member Elizabeth McCracken described "The First Desire," a family saga set in the Great Depression, as "the most beautifully written novel I've read in ages, a book that is as merciless and tender as real life."

A preview in Publishers Weekly concluded, "Reisman writes with beauty and precise imagery; she describes one character's personality as 'carp under ice, nibbling ancient disappointments.' This realism, subtly laced with tenderness and compassion, distinguishes a novel whose addictive embrace continues after the last page has been turned."

In the New York Times Janet Maslin wrote that Reisman "Shares an intoxicating lyricism with the work of Ann Patchett and Andrea Barrett . . . Lovely and heartbreaking. . . A striking new writer."

And Anna Quindlen wrote for the Book-of-the-Month Club News, "Reisman writes beautifully, a prose of restraint and grace. The achievement of this novel is that you are completely inside it from the moment you begin . . . This is a story that has the shape of life as it is truly lived."

Reisman, who teaches at the University of Michigan, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award in 1999 for the short-story collection "House Fires," leading to its publication by the UI Press. Her work has appeared in "Best American Short Stories 2001," Tin House and the Kenyon Review, and she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

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,

PHOTOS are available at or