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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 2, 2007

UI Museum Of Art Will Host Nonfiction Reading Feb. 15

The University of Iowa Museum of Art's Writer-in-Residence Program will present a reading by three nonfiction writers -- UI faculty members Russell Valentino and John D'Agata and graduate student Nick Kowalczyk, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program, will host the reading.

At 6 p.m., UI students Molly Gallentine, Matt Munstermann and Katie Royal will present the latest issue of the undergraduate literary magazine earthwords.

The reading is part of the Writer-in-Residence Program established last fall by the UI Museum of Art (UIMA). Four master of fine arts (MFA) candidates in nonfiction writing were selected by the faculty to receive an honorarium provided by the museum. Each spends three months at the museum working on various writing projects including an art-based essay. The writers read from their work on four evenings through the academic year alongside a number of well-known writers from the faculty of the UI's famed writing programs.

The final reading in the first season of the Writer-in-Residence Program will be Thursday, April 19.

The current UIMA writer in residence, Kowalczyk is a second-year student in the UI Nonfiction Writing Program. A former newspaper reporter and a book publicist, he has had work published in the Kansas City Star, Kansas City Voices and Men's Edge magazine. He will read an excerpt of his essay "Murder in Rustbelt City: A Return to Lorain, Ohio," a mix of journalism, memoir and commentary on life in the Rustbelt.

Valentino, associate professor of Russian and comparative literature at the UI, teaches in the MFA translation program. He will read from his recent translation from the Croatian of "The Other Venice," a collection of lyric essays by Predrag Matvejevic, a public intellectual of dual Russian-Croatian heritage who grew up in Yugoslavia.

D'Agata is an assistant professor of English and Nonfiction Writing. He is the author of "Halls of Fame" (2003, Graywolf Press) and edited the anthology "The Next American Essay" (2002, Graywolf Press). D'Agata currently serves as editor of lyric essays for the Seneca Review.

Merrill has written four collections of poetry, including "Watch Fire," for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; and four books of nonfiction, including "Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars" and most recently "Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain." His work has been translated into 16 languages.

The Nonfiction Writing Program is part of the Department of English in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Part of the Writing University at the UI, they have a Web page at

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. 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: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846; Writer: Emily Grosvenor