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University of Iowa News Release

March 23, 2005

Novelist Francine Prose Reads April 4 On WSUI

Francine Prose, a former visiting faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her new novel, "A Changed Man," at 8 p.m. Monday, April 4 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 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

"A Changed Man" is the story of a racist skinhead, sort of, who becomes a media celebrity when he disavows his bigotry and volunteers to work with a Jewish human rights group. Meanwhile, the skinheads he abandoned, and ripped off, are out for revenge.

A starred review in Publishers Weekly summarized that Prose, "tests assumptions about class, hatred and the possibility of change in her latest novel, a good-natured satire of liberal pieties, the radical right and the fund-raising world... Prose doesn't shy away from exposing the vanities and banalities behind the drive to do good. Fortunately, her characters are sturdy enough to bear the weight of the baggage she piles on them. Her lively skewering of a whole cross-section of society ensures that this tale hits comic high notes even as it probes serious issues."

Blake Eskin observed in the Washington Post's Book World, "Prose has a knack for neurotic interior monologue, and her equalizing approach manages to expose everyone's insecurities -- and the unspoken prejudices of the professionally tolerant...  The implicit premise behind Prose's formal strategy is that, whether people devote their energies to saving Iranian dissidents or dressing up like storm troopers, what motivates them is ultimately some base individual impulse -- loneliness, lust, vanity, pride -- that they may or may not be cognizant of, or the psychopharmacological power of drugs..."

Calling the novel "riotously funny," Joanne Wilkinson's starred review in Booklist concludes, "Like novelist Richard Russo, Prose uses humor to light up key social issues, to skewer smugness and to create characters whose flaws only add to their depth and richness. This may well be Prose's best novel to date."

Prose's humorous novel about sexual politics and academic life, "Blue Angel," was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her other works include  "Guided Tours of Hell: Novellas," "Hunters & Gatherers," "A Peaceable Kingdom," "Primitive People," "Bigfoot Dreams," "Household Saints" (which was made into a 1993 movie starring Tracey Ullman), "Judah the Pious" and her first young adult novel, "After," the story of a high school transformed into an Orwellian "re-education camp" after a Columbine-style shooting.

She is also the author of the nonfiction book "The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired" and "Gluttony," published as part of the Seven Deadly Sins series of Oxford University Press, and the editor of "Best New American Voices 2005."

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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,