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University of Iowa News Release


June 4, 2007

Summer Writing Festival Faculty Member Min Reads From Debut Novel June 13

First-time novelist Katherine Min will read from her debut, "Secondhand World," in a free event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, 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.

Min is at the UI as a faculty member in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival (, where her workshops are "Tempests in Teapots: Advanced Story Workshop," June 10-15; "The Plot Thickens: How To Create & Sustain Compelling Fiction," June 16-17; and "How to Eat an Elephant: Advanced Novel Workshop," June 17-22.

"Secondhand World" tells the story of an immigrant Korean family in upstate New York, living through multiple tragedies in the wake of the Korean War.

The novel was a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Award, given to "an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise." It was also selected as one of the best books of 2006 by the School Library Journal and as one of the best debut novels of the year by the Rocky Mountain News. It was also a winter guide pick on and Redbook Magazine's October Book Club Pick.

A New Yorker review stated, "This disquieting debut novel begins like a murder mystery: in a hospital burn unit, a badly scarred 18-year-old flatly informs us of her parents' death by fire. The story that follows, however, is less an investigation than an exorcism.

"As the daughter of Korean immigrants growing up in the '70s, the narrator is bullied by classmates and barely noticed by her parents. She finds kinship with a 'fellow freak,' an albino boy, but their love affair soon ends, and she turns her rage against her mother, who she discovers is leading a secret life."

Min's short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, the Threepenny Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been widely anthologized, most recently in "The Pushcart Book of Stories: The Best Short Stories from a Quarter-Century of The Pushcart Prize." "Eyelids" was listed as one of 100 distinguished stories in "The Best American Short Stories of 1997." "The Brick" was read on National Public Radio's "Selected Shorts" program in 1999 and "Courting a Monk" won a Pushcart Prize.

Min was awarded New Hampshire Arts Council fellowships in 2004 & 1995, and in 1992 she received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been seven times a fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H.; a resident of Ledig House, in Ghent, N.Y.; a Wallace-Reader's Digest Fellow at the Millay Colony, in Austerlitz, N.Y.; and a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, in Sewanee, Tenn.

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 additional information about the reading call Prairie Lights, 319-337-2681. 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,