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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 15, 2004

Ward Revisits Starkweather/Fugate Murders In Sept. 29 WSUI Reading

Liza Ward will revisit one of the Midwest's most notorious murder rampages when she reads from her debut novel, "Outside Valentine," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be a free event at the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at

The novel is based on the 1958 killing spree of Charles Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, that terrorized Nebraska. Ward tells this story and its psychological aftermath through the eyes of Fugate; another alienated Lincoln teenager several years later; and the son of two of Starkweather's victims finally resolving to come to terms 30 years later -- a character apparently based on Ward's father.

Clara Ward and industrialist C. Lauer Ward of Lincoln were murdered by Starkweather on Jan. 28, 1958.

A Publishers Weekly preview described the book as a "riveting literary suspense novel," and in a starred review in Booklist Joanne Wilkinson wrote, "In her stunning first novel, Ward makes a great empathic leap, recasting painful personal history as compelling fiction."

J. Robert Lennon, author of "On the Night Plain," wrote, "Blunt, beautiful, and very scary, 'Outside Valentine' proves that a murder doesn't end with death -- it just goes on and on, staining generations, tolling across decades. It's a first novel with the weight of a tenth. Liza Ward has the ears of a wolf, the eyes of an owl, and a tongue as sharp as broken glass."

Ward was born in New York City and holds degrees from Middlebury College and the University of Montana. Her stories have been published in the Atlantic Monthly, the Georgia Review, the Antioch Review and the Agni Review. They have also been selected for the 2004 O. Henry Prize Stories and Harcourt's 2004 Best New American Voices collection.

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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,