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University of Iowa News Release

April 6, 2006

Photo: Cover of author Michelle Tea's novel "Rose of No Man's Land." Click here for a high-resolution version of the image.

Michelle Tea Will Read From First Novel April 21 On 'Live From Prairie Lights'

Lambda Award-winning memoirist Michelle Tea will read from her first novel, "Rose of No Man's Land," at 7 p.m. Friday, April 21, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI-AM 910.

Julie Englander will host the broadcast, which will originate in a free event in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at

Tea is one of America's leading blue-collar-lesbian writers. Jen Crispin observed, "Her work is often brutally honest, both about growing up in impoverished Chelsea, Mass., and in writing about her sexuality in ways that often gets her labeled 'transgressive.'"

A starred review in Publishers Weekly stated, "Tea follows up her Lambda Award-winning San Francisco prostitution memoir, 'Valencia,' her sporadically transcendent collected poems, 'The Beautiful,' and last year's graphic novel, 'Rent Girl' (now in development for TV), with this inspired queer bildungsroman.

"In Trisha Driscoll, Tea has developed an unreliable narrator who stands on her own. Trisha is a doughy, alcoholic 10th-grade denizen of Mogsfield, Mass., a fictional white trash nowhere. Her father is long gone; her mother, owing to psychosomatic back problems, does not leave the couch; her mother's boyfriend, Donnie, enters the kitchen only to make ramen; her younger sister, Kristy, is obsessed with launching herself onto reality TV and constantly films the family dysfunctioning around her. . . .

"Tea is brilliant in making the stakes for Trisha abundantly clear as she discovers sex (and, concurrently, her sexuality), drugs and the emotional gains and losses attendant to each. Add in minor characters like the never-seen but oft-discussed Kim Porciatti and various dumb guys in cars, and you have a postmillennial, class-adjusted 'My So-Called Life.'"

A review in People Magazine declared the book, "impossible to put down," and a critic's pick review in Entertainment Weekly called it "balls-out from the start . . . Tea's writing is raw, funny, and tragic, but never forced. . . . (It is) fiction that reads true."

Tea is the founder of the notorious all-girl performance tour Sister Spit, which wrecked poetic havoc across the country at the end of the '90s. She continues to curate literary events nationally, and hosts the monthly Radar Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library.

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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,