The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 23, 2006

UI Writers' Workshop Alumna Trussoni Reads Michenor Award Winner On WSUI March 6

Danielle Trussoni, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her new memoir, "Falling Through the Earth," at 7 p.m. Monday, March 6 on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI-AM 910.

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

"Falling Through the Earth," Trussoni's account of growing up with an alcoholic, violent, Vietnam vet father, was selected by Marilynne Robinson and James Alan McPherson as the winner of the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award for 2005-06. The award is given every two years by the workshop to honor the best book written by a graduate of the Writers' Workshop during that time.

John Green's starred review in Booklist summarized, "After her parents divorced, Danielle Trussoni went to live with her father, Dan, while her siblings stayed with Mom. A hard-drinking, former Vietnam tunnel rat haunted by his war experiences, Dan more or less raised Danielle in Roscoe's, the Wisconsin dive bar where he was the most regular of regulars. Danielle took to skipping school and shoplifting, but she eventually got to the University of Wisconsin and then went on to get her MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

"Who knows if Iowa is to credit, but Trussoni has written a hell of a good memoir. Seamlessly combining memories of her dad's inept parenting with his Vietnam stories (and her own from a recent trip), Trussoni vividly depicts the violence that war can do to veterans' families, but she also shows how easy it is to love a bad father. But 'Falling Through the Earth' is not merely tragic. It's also vicious, unsentimental, and often quite funny. One of the best portrayals in recent memory of what it's like to grow up in a screwed-up, working-class family."

Alexandra Fuller, author of "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight," wrote, "Trussoni has taken an extended trip to hell and come back with treasures from that drunken, burning, broken place. . . . Even if this book were not urgently important and devastatingly timely, I'd still urge you to read it for the sheer triumph of the author's gift."

And Anthony Swofford, the author of "Jarhead" and Writers Workshop alumnus, noted, "With Falling Through the Earth she delivers a salient and timely reminder that a war's victims aren't limited to those in uniform nor demarcated by geography."

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

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,

PHOTOS are available at