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University of Iowa News Release

July 12, 2006

Director Of UI Non-Fiction Writing Program Hemley Reads On WSUI July 27

Robin Hemley, an Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate recently appointed director of the University of Iowa Non-Fiction Writing Program, will read from his just-republished book about the craft of fiction writing, "Turning Life into Fiction," at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 27, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

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

"Turning Life Into Fiction," which was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection as well as a Quality Paperback Book Club Selection, has sold more than 40,000 copies.

Critic Brad Hooper wrote for Booklist, "Neither simplistic nor condescending but at the same time definitely for the beginning writer, this is an enlightening and even inspiring guide to utilizing elements of one's own life and of one's family history as fodder for writing novels and short stories. . . . Journal keeping is heavily encouraged; and the actual processes whereby truth -- real people, real places, and real events -- can be rendered into fiction are laid out in easy-to-follow terms."

Midwest Book Review called the book "a fun, intriguing examination of how fiction is created, considering elements of style, honesty, and how all blend into novel and short story writing attempts."

Hemley has published seven books of nonfiction and fiction. His latest book, "Invented Eden, The Elusive, Disputed History of the Tasaday" deals with a purported anthropological hoax in the Philippines. "Invented Eden" was an American Library Association Editor's Choice book for 2003.

Hemley co-edited the anthology "Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists" and is the author of the memoir, "Nola: A Memoir Of Faith, Art And Madness," which won an Independent Press Book Award for Nonfiction. He is also the author of the novel "The Last Studebaker" and the story collections "The Big Ear" and "All You Can Eat."

His awards for his fiction include, The Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune, the George Garrett Award for Fiction from Willow Springs, the Hugh J. Luke Award from Prairie Schooner and two Pushcart Prizes.

His work has been published in literary magazines including Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Willow Springs, Boulevard, Witness, ACM and the North American Review. His fiction has been widely anthologized and translated, and has been heard on National Public Radio's "Selected Shorts."

He has taught at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Western Washington University, St. Lawrence University, Vermont College and the University of Utah, and he was the editor-in-chief of the Bellingham Review for five years.

The Writers' Workshop and the Non-Fiction Writing Program are academic units 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,