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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 29, 2004

UPDATE: Please note that the time and place of the Conroy, Solotaroff reading has been changed (10/7/04)

Conroy And Solotaroff Read From Acclaimed Memoirs Oct. 13

Frank Conroy, director of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will be joined by editor and critic Ted Solotaroff for a joint reading from their acclaimed memoirs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13 in Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Conroy's "Stop-Time" and Solotaroff's "Truth Comes In Blows" are considered exemplary examples of American memoirs about childhood and adolescence. Solotaroff continued his narrative in "First Loves: A Memoir," published last year and soon to be released in paperback.

"Stop-Time," first published in 1967 and nominated for the National Book Award, is considered a classic of recent American literature. Conroy's handwritten manuscripts of selected chapters are available on-line at

Conroy, who will step down as head of the workshop at the end of this academic year, is also the author of the short-story collection "Midair," the novel "Body and Soul," the non-fiction collection "Dogs Bark But the Caravan Rolls On," "The Eleventh Draft: Craft and the Writing Life from Iowa Writers' Workshop" and, most recently, "Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket."

Russell Banks wrote of Solotaroff's first volume, which was a New York Times Notable Book in 1998, "This is a very good book, intelligent and moving, an angry, hurt son's HOMAGE to love and forgiveness, and an unforgettable portrait of the irascible, cruel father who, at his death, thought he deserved so much less and was probably right. It's also a brilliant, unsentimental description of 'the world of our fathers' -- the Depression in America and the permanent wounds it inflicted on hardworking men and women and their silently observing children, one of whom, Ted Solotaroff, grew up to write this beautiful memoir."

Solotaroff says of that book, "When we want to find out about someone, we often ask, 'What is his or her story?' Through this we're asking our informant to cut through a lot of extraneous information and get to the plot line: the essential or at least characteristic experiences that tell who he is and one or two of the basic continuities that make her cohere. At any rate, that's how I came to understand my purpose in writing this book. In fact, I ended up pasting a little sign over my computer that read, 'It's a story, stupid.' By telling it, I hoped to discover the early, basic part of how I came to be who I am."

Of "First Loves," which recounts his life through adolescence and marriage, Susan Salter Reynolds wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "Welcome to Solotaroff's world, full of lust, craving and camaraderie; surprisingly free of bitterness and sweetened by regret."

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

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