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University of Iowa News Release


March 13, 2007

Entertainment Writer Sessums Reads From Memoir March 27

Entertainment writer Kevin Sessums will read from "Mississippi Sissy," his memoir of growing up gay in the Deep South of the civil rights era, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live on the Internet at

The free reading will be recorded for broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by Julie Englander, air at 8 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.

Ellen DeGeneres exclaimed, "What a writer! What honesty! Kevin Sessums seamlessly weaves his heart-breaking, funny, outrageous, can't-put-me-down story. Read it!"

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, wrote, "'Mississippi Sissy' is a book I've been waiting for most of my life, though I didn't fully understand that fact until I read the book. We have, as it turns out, been sorely missing a book by a writer who is equally at home with Flannery O'Connor and Jaqueline Susann; who understands that Eudora Welty and Johnny Weismuller are not only members of the same species but are intricately related; whose wit and insight are up to the highs, lows, and in-betweens that compose life as we know it. Kevin Sessums is some sort of cockeyed national treasure."

Sessums is a contributing editor at Allure magazine after spending 14 years at Vanity Fair. Before joining Vanity Fair, he was executive editor for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. His work has also appeared in Elle, Travel+Leisure, Playboy, Out and Show People magazines.

The "Writing University" Web site not only 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 -- but 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.

The Writers' Workshop, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and the Translation Workshop are all academic programs of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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;