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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 19, 2007

Feb. 2 WSUI 'Live From Prairie Lights' Reading Dishes The Dirt On Cut Flowers

Nonfiction writer Amy Stewart will dish the dirt about botany in a free reading at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading from her new book, "Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Cut Flowers," will be recorded for broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI-AM 910.

"Live from Prairie Lights," hosted by Julie Englander, airs at 8 and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on WSUI-AM 910, WOI-AM 640 and KRNI-AM 1010. A program will also be broadcast at 5 p.m. Sundays on KSUI-FM 91.7.

Stewart, the author of "Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms" and "From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden," was the winner of the 2005 California Horticultural Society's Writer's Award.

"Her investigations take her from an eccentric lily breeder to an Australian business with the alchemical mission of creating a blue rose," a preview in Publishers Weekly observed. "She visits a romantically anachronistic violet grower, the largest remaining California grower of cut flowers and a Dutch breeder employing high-tech methods to develop flowers in equatorial countries where wages are low.

"Stewart follows a rose from the remote Ecuadoran greenhouse where it's grown to the American retailer where it's finally sold, and visits a huge, stock-exchange-like Dutch flower auction. These present-day adventures are interspersed with fascinating histories of the various aspects of flower culture, propagation and commerce. . . . By the end, this book is as lush as the flowers it describes."

"The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms" was a featured selection of the Discovery Channel Book Club and was named a Best Book of the Year by the San Jose Mercury News. Stewart's articles appear regularly in Organic Gardening and the San Francisco Chronicle, and she was the recipient of a 2006 National Endowment of the Arts for Literature Fellowship.

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;