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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 27, 2005

UI To Host First Major Conference On Nonfiction Writing Nov. 10-12

Writers of literary nonfiction will gather at the University of Iowa Nov. 10-12 for "NonfictioNow," the first-ever comprehensive conference to focus on this emerging genre.

Sponsored by the UI Nonfiction Writing Program, English Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate College, NonfictioNow will highlight some of the best writing of this burgeoning and often indefinable genre. Featured speakers will include Phillip Lopate, Pico Iyer and Lauren Slater as well as writers, teachers and editors from around the country who are exploring and defining the genre.

Lopate, an acclaimed nonfiction writer and professor of English at Hofstra University, will deliver the keynote address at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the Second Floor Ballroom, Iowa Memorial Union.

Robin Hemley, director of the Nonfiction Writing Program and UI professor of English, said the conference goal is to generate a discussion of the writing and teaching communities of nonfiction's myriad forms and the places of intersection.

All sessions will be held at the Iowa Memorial Union. Full registration costs $175 until Nov. 8, or $200 when the conference opens. Select readings and sessions will be open to the public. A complete schedule is available online,

Featured conference participants include:

--Michael Martone, author of "The Flatness and Other Landscapes" and "The Blue Guide to Indiana."

--Dinty Moore, editor of Brevity, a journal of literary nonfiction.

--David Shields, author of eight books, including "Enough About You," "Black Planet," a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and "Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity" winner of the PEN/Revson Award.

--Anthony Swofford, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of the bestselling memoir, "Jarhead," which has been adapted into a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal to be released in November.

--Abigail Thomas, author of the memoir, "Safekeeping," the novel "An Actual Life" and two story collections, "Getting Over Tom" and "Herb's Pajamas."

In addition, the conference will feature a tribute to the great American writer James Baldwin on Friday, Nov. 11 from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. Baldwin is noted for his novels on sexual and personal identity and for his sharp essays on civil-rights struggle in the United States. He also wrote three plays, a children's storybook, and a book of short stories. UI professors James Alan McPherson and Vershawn Young, UI graduate student Brian Goedde, Wesleyan University professor Gayle Pemberton and University of Washington professor and author David Shields will offer remarks.

The University of Iowa, long a focal point of American writing, is home to the Nonfiction Writing Program, The Iowa Writers' Workshop, The International Writing Program, The Playwrights' Workshop, The MFA in Translation, The Center for the Book, The Iowa Review and The University of Iowa Press.

The Nonfiction Writing Program is housed in the Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For more information or special accommodations to attend this conference, contact the Nonfiction Writing Program, 319-335-0440.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Nonfiction Writing Program, 319-335-0440