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Nelson To Read From 'The Red Parts' Monday On 'Live From Prairie Lights'

Poet Maggie Nelson will read from her memoir, "The Red Parts," at 7 p.m. Monday, April 2, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live on the Internet

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.

"The Red Parts" tells the horrifying tale of Nelson's aunt's 1969 murder -- also addressed in her book "Jane: A Murder" -- and the re-opening of the case 35 years later as the result of DNA evidence.

Nelson never knew her aunt, who was a 23-year-old law student at the time she hitched a ride with a stranger. A young man was convicted of the crime in 1970, but DNA testing decades later implicated another man.

Annie Dillard commented, "Very rarely does a book come along that combines such extraordinary lyricism and ethical precision with the sense that the author is writing for her very life. 'The Red Parts' is one of these. At every turn of this riveting, genre-defying account, Nelson refuses complacency and pushes further into the unknown. A necessary, austere, and deeply brave achievement."

Emily Cook wrote for the American Library Association: "Alternating between the current trial and her family history, Nelson's account is lucid, her head clear, and her writing strong. Memories of her childhood -- particularly of her father, who died when she was a girl -- are the most emotionally charged elements. But her wry and honest account of the clownish calamity of the courtroom and the impending media circus (Nelson was on '48 Hours Mystery') are also affecting. Given the popularity of crime TV, this is a much-needed reminder of the long, painful aftermath of heinous crimes."

Nelson's other books include "The Latest Winner," "Shiner," "Something Bright, Then Holes" and "Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions," forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press.

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. It 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;