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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 11, 2005

Life At Famous Paris Bookstore Is Subject Of Nov. 21 WSUI Reading

Canadian journalist Jeremy Mercer will read from his memoir "Time Was Soft There," about his experiences working in Paris at the famous Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" broadcasts on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910, hosted by Julie Englander. Listen on the Internet at

Founded by George Whitman, a friend of James Joyce, Shakespeare & Co., in the shadow of Notre Dame cathedral, has become not only a second-home for English-language expatriates, but also a destination for readers and writers the world over.

A Kirkus review called Mercer "a genial, wide-eyed guide to the wild crew at the store. . . . catnip for book junkies." And a preview in Publishers Weekly summarized, "Mercer portrays the assorted characters and their adventures with an eye for detail and a wry sense of humor. Francophile book lovers will enjoy his finely crafted memoir."

Mercer worked as a crime reporter with the Ottawa Citizen from 1995 to 1999, when he wrote two true-crime books, the second of which was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award.

In Paris Mercer founded the Kilometer Zero project, through which he has edited a magazine and produced art performances in Paris, London, Brooklyn, Marseille and Beijing. Kilometer Zero is an international collective of activist artists and writers who met in Paris, through Shakespeare & Co.

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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,