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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 22, 2005

UI Launches 'Literary Lunches' Series With Reading By Merrill March 2

To celebrate the University of Iowa's rich tradition in writing and letters, UI President David Skorton and Professor Robin Davisson will host a series of Literary Lunches at the President's home, 102 Church St., beginning Wednesday, March 2.

As part of the Year of the Arts and Humanities, the series will spotlight the many writing programs at the UI and make them accessible to a broader public. The events will be free and open to the public, but limited to the first 30 people to register each time.

The first event, hosted by Davisson, will feature Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program and professor of English, reading from his new book "Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain," and selected translations of writers who have participated in the IWP.

The program will include a light lunch, served at 11:30 a.m., followed by Merrill's reading at noon, with time for questions and answers concluding at 1 p.m. Anyone interested in attending the lunch should call 319-353-2475 to reserve a place. The first 30 respondents will comprise the audience for the event.

In "Things of the Hidden God" Merrill describes the transformative pilgrimages he made to Mount Athos, the center of Orthodox monasticism in Greece, in the aftermath of covering the Balkan wars during the 1990s.

Merrill's books include four collections of poetry, including "Watch Fire," for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; translations; several edited volumes; and three books of nonfiction -- "The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer"; "The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee"; and "Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars." His work has been translated into 16 languages.

Future programs in the Literary Lunches series will feature faculty and staff associated with UI literary programs including the Writers' Workshop and the Center for the Book.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please call 319-353-2475 in advance.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, R.S.V.P.: 319-353-2475