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University of Iowa News Release


April 25, 2007

Masha Hamilton Reads May 8 For 'Live From Prairie Lights'

Former foreign correspondent Masha Hamilton will read from her third novel, "The Camel Bookmobile," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, in the Prairie Lights book store at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Website:

The free event will be recorded for broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by Julie Englander, air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on AM 910 WSUI in Iowa City, AM 640 WOI in Ames and AM 1010 KRNI in Cedar Falls. A program is also broadcast at 5 p.m. Sundays on 91.7 FM KSUI in Iowa City.

In a Booklist starred review, Carol Haggas wrote, "Yes, there really is such a thing as a camel bookmobile, and the image of unwieldy beasts laden with book-filled boxes provided inspiration for novelist Hamilton to compose a lush celebration of the productive -- and destructive -- power of the written word.

"With a heartfelt appreciation for the potential of literature to transcend cultural divides, Hamilton has created a poignant, ennobling, and buoyant tale of risks and rewards, surrender and sacrifice."

A review in USA Today commented: "Hamilton's portrayal of nomadic culture is lovingly and colorfully told. It's a painterly glimpse into a world that few Westerners will ever see."

Hamilton was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press for five years in the Middle East, where she covered the intefadeh, the peace process and the partial Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Then she spent five years in Moscow, where she was a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, wrote a newspaper column, "Postcard from Moscow," and reported for NBC/Mutual Radio.

She traveled to Afghanistan in the spring of 2004 to report on the changing situation for women in prison, child brides, war widows and others. In 2006, she traveled in Kenya to research "The Camel Bookmobile" and interview drought and famine victims in the isolated northeast near the border with Somalia.

Her first novel, "Staircase of a Thousand Steps," was a Booksense pick, and her second novel, "The Distance Between Us," was named one of the best books of 2004 by Library Journal.

A Brown University graduate, she has been awarded fiction fellowships from Yaddo, the Blue Mountain Center, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She teaches for Gotham Writers' Workshop and has also taught at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

The Writing University Web site provides a handy portal to the UI writing programs -- including the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the International Writing Program, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, the Translation Workshop, the UI Press and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The site also centralizes writing news, lists upcoming events and provides access to a wealth of writing materials -- texts, journals, lists of Iowa-connected writers and publications, historic videos and archived audio. Visitors to the site have the option of subscribing to an RSS feed.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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; cell: 310-430-1013;