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University of Iowa News Release

March 20, 2006

Writers' Workshop Alumnus Tussing Reads From Debut Novel On WSUI March 30

Justin Tussing, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from his first novel, "The Best People in the World," at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 30, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on UI 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

"The Best People in the World" follows three misfits from Paducah, Ky., who try to make a fresh world in rural Vermont.

The novel has been met with a chorus of critical accolades. A starred review in Publishers Weekly declared, "What might have been the stuff of boyish fantasies -- an affair with a teacher, running away from home, living off the land -- goes frighteningly awry in this unsettling but bleakly beautiful debut novel. . . . Tussing skillfully crafts simultaneously visionary and demented characters, and when an element of the supernatural infiltrates the narrative it seems normal for the deliberately off-kilter people who inhabit this odd but honest, appealing American story."

A review in the Christian Science Monitor recommended the book as "A rewarding read . . . Witty, well paced, and inventive . . . Tussing writes beautifully."

A review in Salon commanded, "It is very rare to find a novel so lovingly, deliberately and perfectly written . . . Read it. Now." And a piece in the New York Times Book Review called it "One bright book of exuberant American life . . . Tussing has a real gift."

Tussing's short fiction has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, TriQuarterly and Third Coast. At the UI he was a Teaching/Writing Fellow, and he received a UI fellowship from the James A. Michener/Copernicus Society of America in support of this novel. He is a former director of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio, and from 2001 to 2004 he was writing coordinator at the Fine Arts Work Center in Massachusetts.

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program in 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,