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University of Iowa News Release


June 12, 2007

June 25 'Live From Prairie Lights' Event Features First Novelist Tony Romano

First-time novelist Tony Romano will read from "When the World Was Young" at 7 p.m. Monday, June 25, 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.

Romano's novel is an evocation of Italian-American life in Chicago during the 1950s. Joanne Wilkinson explained in Booklist, "This tenderhearted novel about an immigrant family during the 1950s features Angela Rosa and Agostino Peccatori, who still long for the sight of the Apennine Hills ringing their Italian hometown. With five children, however, they have no time for self-indulgence. Angela Rosa is constantly cooking and cleaning, while Agostino puts in long hours running the family-owned corner tavern. Their oldest son, Santo, is longing for a girlfriend and a job that would give him some independence, while 16-year-old Victoria, feeling suffocated by her family's strict rules, has begun to smoke and flirt with bad-boy Eddie Milano.

"But when their baby brother, Benito, succumbs to a high fever, the entire family seems to come apart, each nurturing a private grief. Romano describes the mourning process in heart-wrenching passages even as he relays the love and the secrets -- Agostino's infidelity, Victoria's pregnancy -- that bind and separate family members. In addition, he offers a finely detailed depiction of the Peccatoris' West Side Chicago neighborhood, from its Italian beef stands to its majestic Catholic church."

Romano has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and is a two-time winner of a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project. His fiction has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and many other publications, and his stories have been produced for National Public Radio's "The Sound of Writing" series. He has been a high school teacher for 25 years.

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;