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University of Iowa News Release

April 5, 2006

George Saunders Reads At UI April 20 As Guest Of UI Writers' Workshop

Short-story writer George Saunders will present a free reading as a guest of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20 in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library. His new book of stories is "In Persuasion Nation."

Saunders has published two collections of stories, "Pastoralia" and "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline" -- both New York Times Notable Books -- the political novella "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil" and a children's story, "The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip." His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Story and many other publications.

He won the National Magazine Award in 1994 for his story "The 400-pound CEO" and again in 1996 for "Bounty." His work is included in "Best American Short Stories 2005."

A Publishers Weekly review of "In Persuasion Nation" observes that "Saunders's vital theme -- the persistence of humanity in a vacuous, nefarious marketing culture of its own creation -- comes through with subtlety and fresh turns."

Saunders received a bachelor of science degree in geophysical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, and he was an engineer and technical writer for an environmental engineering firm. But after reading in People magazine about the master of fine arts program at Syracuse University, he applied, resulting in a degree and a faculty position there.

A Village Voice article stated, "Saunders has made a career out of hot-wiring himself to machines -- the former engineer attaches fingers to the keyboard and spews out reams of tripped-out data on the intersection of a mechanized culture and its equally mechanical population. Those data, in turn, become the source material of some of the slickest, most relentlessly satirical stories yet produced on this planet."

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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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,