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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 8, 2006

Fiction Writer Dominic Smith Reads On WSUI Feb. 20

The "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will broadcast a reading by fiction writer Dominic Smith, who will read from his new novel "The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre," at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20.

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

A Kirkus starred review called the novel "a compelling psychological study, a thoughtful tracing of the birth of a new art form."

A preview in Publishers Weekly explained, "In 1846, the celebrated photographer Louis Daguerre, his brain addled by the mercury process that made him famous, has a vision of the end of the world, which launches him on a quest to record a series of 10 images before the apocalypse. The aged Daguerre enlists the help of bohemian poet Charles Baudelaire, and together they prowl Paris in search of Daguerre's subjects.

"In flashback, Smith stages a vivid re-enactment of the intellectual progress and persistent experimentation that led to Daguerre's breakthrough discovery. . . . Smith renders a clear-eyed portrait of Daguerre and his thinking, against a backdrop of tumultuous times."

UI Writers' workshop alumnus Mark Jude Poirier wrote, "In 'The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre,' Dominic Smith writes with an authority very few first-time novelists possess. He wonderfully evokes nineteenth-century Paris through a chemically addled consciousness -- a formidable achievement that he manages with humor and grace. A remarkable debut."

Smith grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Austin, Texas. He holds a master of fine arts degree from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. His fiction and essays have been widely published, recently in the Antioch Review, Carve Magazine, Gulf Coast and the Mid-American Review. He has a story forthcoming with the Atlantic Monthly in 2006.

His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize and the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize. In addition, he has been a finalist for the Faulkner Society Best Novel Prize.

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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,