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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 7, 2006

Author Jane Smiley To Discuss Her Work At Iowa City, Chicago Events

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley will share the secrets of her craft at two University of Iowa-sponsored, February events in Iowa City and Chicago.

On Feb. 25, Smiley will appear as special guest on KSUI radio's "Know the Score Live!" with host Joan Kjaer. The program is from 2:45 to 5 p.m. at the Englert Theatre, 221 East Washington St., Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public.

Smiley, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, is the author of 12 best-selling novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Thousand Acres." She will read from her latest novel, "Ten Days in the Hills" (to be released Feb. 13), which takes an insider's look at the sex, intrigue, and power games of Hollywood.

Lan Samantha Chang, director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will introduce Smiley. Later in the program, Kjaer will talk with Smiley, as will Marvin Bell, UI emeritus faculty member and former Iowa poet laureate, and Jason England and Kecia Lynn, who are students from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. A question-and-answer session will conclude the program.

The UI Lecture Committee will present Smiley with the Notable Iowan Award, which honors Iowans who have made important social, cultural, political or other achievements. These award winners speak as part of the Notable Iowan Lecture series, supported in part by the F. Wendell Miller Fund.

The UI Alumni Association, the UI Lecture Committee, Prairie Lights Books, the Englert Theatre, and Iowa Public Radio are sponsoring the author's visit to Iowa City. The show will also be streamed live on KSUI at and will be rebroadcast 7 p.m. Feb. 28 on KSUI 91.7 FM and 101.7 FM in the Dubuque area.

On Feb. 26, Smiley will join mystery writer and attorney Scott Turow, author of such best-sellers as "Presumed Innocent," "The Burden of Proof," and "Ordinary Heroes," for an evening of conversation at the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium in the Chicago Public Library, 400 South State St., Chicago.

Supported by the UI Office of the Provost, the UI Alumni Association, and the Chicago Iowa Club, this University of Iowa Night event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. After a reception with light refreshments, the program begins at 7:30 p.m. and is followed by a book signing. The cost to attend the event is $10 for UI Alumni Association members and $15 for non-members. Register online at or by phoning the UI Alumni Association at 800-469-2586. Deadline to register is Feb. 19.

Smiley was born in Los Angeles, moved to the suburbs of St. Louis, Mo. as an infant, and lived there through grammar school and high school (The John Burroughs School). After getting her bachelor's degree at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in Europe for a year, working on an archeological dig and sightseeing, and then returned for graduate school at the UI. With her MFA and Ph.D. from the UI in hand, she went to work in 1981 at Iowa State University, where she taught until 1996.

In addition to "A Thousand Acres," Smiley, who now lives in Northern California, is the author of "The Age of Grief," "The Greenlanders," "Ordinary Love and Good Will," "Moo," "Horse Heaven" and "Good Faith," as well as many essays for such magazines as Vogue, The New Yorker, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, and others. She has written on politics, farming, horse training, child rearing, literature, impulse buying, getting dressed, Barbie, marriage, and many other topics. She is also the author of the non-fiction books "A Year at the Races," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel," and a biography of Charles Dickens.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Program: UI Lecture Committee, 319-335-3255; Joan Kjaer, KSUI, 319-335-5730; Amy Jones, UI Alumni Association, 319-335-3290. Writers: Tina Owen and George McCrory

OTHER INFORMATION: Smiley is available for interview prior to the events; contact Gabrielle Brooks at 212-572-2152 or