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University of Iowa News Release

July 15, 2005

Iowa Writers' Workshop Graduate Josh Emmons Reads July 29 On WSUI

Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate Josh Emmons will read from his debut novel, "The Loss of Leon Meed," at 8 p.m. Friday, July 29 on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

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

Emmons, who now lives in New Orleans, returned to Iowa City this summer to teach in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

In "The Loss of Leon Meed" -- which a starred Kirkus review called "a sparkling and witty debut" -- 10 residents of Eureka, Calif., are brought together by a mysterious man, who repeatedly and inexplicably appears and disappears.

Young and old, married and single, punk and evangelical, black, white and Korean, each witness to these bewildering events interprets them differently, yet all of their lives are changed -- by the phenomenon itself, and by what it provokes in them.

Jonathan Franzen wrote, "Here's how you know Josh Emmons is the real deal: he's created a full spectrum of Californian characters who are ludicrous and ill-behaved and lovable in equal measure; he's a major-league prose writer who has fun in every sentence without ever showing off or hitting a phony note; and you want to keep reading him for the pure pleasure of his company."

A New Orleans Times-Picayune review predicted, "Readers will wish they had more time to spend in Eureka, with these utterly involving characters, as they find God or love or hope when they least expect it and probably most need it. This wise and lovely book both understands the troubles of these times and soothes them."

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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,