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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 30, 2005

This event has been cancelled: Grace Paley Will Present Paul Engle Memorial Reading Oct. 10

Grace Paley, one of America's most cherished short story writers, will present the annual Paul Engle Memorial reading -- honoring the long-time head of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and co-founder of the International Writing Program -- at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10 in Shambaugh Auditorium of the University of Iowa Main Library. (Note the change from the originally announced date of Oct. 12, Paul Engle Day.)

Paley, the first recipient of the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit, is the author of four highly acclaimed collections of short fiction -- including "The Little Disturbances of Man," "Enormous Changes at the Last Minute " and "Later the Same Day" -- as well as "Leaning Forward" and two other collections of poetry.

Her "Collected Stories" was a finalist for the 1994 National Book Award, and her most recent work is "Begin Again: Collected Poems."

Susan Sontag wrote of Paley's fiction, "She is that rare kind of writer, a natural with a voice like no one else's -- funny, sad, lean, modest, energetic, acute."

And Adrienne Rich said of Paley's poetry, "What I love most in Grace Paley's poetry is her unquenchable sense that the artist's life is not somewhere at the margins of community, that a dialogue is necessary between the poet and her people. The North American enterprise has injured this dialogue. Paley's exuberant, heartbreaking, committed poems call it back to health."

Paley has taught at Columbia University, Syracuse Universities, City College of New York and Sarah Lawrence College. She received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1961, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1966 and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1970. She has also been a member of the Executive Board of P.E.N.

Active in anti-war, feminist and anti-nuclear movements, Paley has been a member of the War Resisters' League, Resist and Women's Pentagon Action, and she was one of the founders of the Greenwich Village Peace Center in 1961. During the World Peace Congress in Moscow in 1973, she condemned the Soviet Union for silencing political dissidents.

She was the New York State Author 1986-88, and in 1987 Paley was awarded a Senior Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, in recognition of her lifetime contribution to literature.

Paul Engle Day was established in 2000 through a proclamation by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. A native of Cedar Rapids, Engle was graduated from the UI as the first poet anywhere to obtain an advanced degree on the basis of a collection of poems. He returned to the UI to lead the Writers' Workshop to prominence, and in 1967 he and Hualing Nieh Engle founded the International Writing Program (IWP). He died in 1990 while en route to receive Poland's highest civilian honor.

The Writers' Workshop remains the most prestigious and influential writing program at any university. And the importance of the IWP to international understanding was recognized in 1976 when former Senator, diplomat and U.N. Ambassador Averrill Harriman nominated the Engles for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1995 the program was honored with the Governor's Award for distinguished service to the State of Iowa.

Shambaugh House, the headquarters of the IWP, is located 430 N. Clinton Street, at the corner of Clinton and Fairchild Streets on the UI campus. The Writer's Workshop, an academic unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is located in the Dey House.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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