May 16, 2007
Donohue Reads From 'Bedtime Story For Adults' May 30
Keith Donohue will read from his debut novel, "The Stolen Child," a "bedtime story for adults," in a free event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 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: http://writinguniversity.uiowa.edu.
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.
A review in the School Library Journal explained, "When Henry Day runs away at age seven, he is captured by a gang of hobgoblins, or changelings. One of them assumes his identity and takes his place in his family, and the original Henry, now called Aniday, adapts to life with ageless children who survive in the woods, awaiting their turn to change places with a human. Told in alternating voices by the impostor and the real Henry, this story shows how their lives intertwine as they come to terms with their new realities.
"New England in the latter half of the 20th century is not kind to creatures of the shadowy realm, and the band of changelings slowly dwindles as housing developments and industry push away the forested areas where they hide.
"As much as the new Henry tries to assimilate, memories of a prior life nag at him, and he comes to realize that, just as he has stolen Aniday's childhood, his own childhood was stolen away from him in 19th-century Germany . . . Donohue has created a haunting picture of two lonely spirits searching for identity in the modern world. He includes just enough fantasy that readers will look a little more closely the next time they are walking through a dark stretch of forest."
Graham Joyce wrote in the Washington Post Book World, "Our literary culture is marinated in deep traditions of the fantastic and the supernatural, and we export those rich qualities in films and books on a spectacular industrial scale. It's unfortunate, then, that our sniffy literary establishment should furrow its brow at any and all prospecting around these fictional sources. Quite often important books are marginalized by obtuse prejudice, and I hope this will not be the fate of Keith Donohue's utterly absorbing 'The Stolen Child.' . . .
"On the surface, Donohue may seem to have written a clever debut novel about fairies. But the real triumph of the book is that, while our backs were turned, he has performed a switch and delivered a luminous and thrilling novel about our humanity."
Donohue is the director of communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Until 1998 he worked at the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote hundreds of speeches for chairmen John Frohnmayer and Jane Alexander.
He has written articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other newspapers. He hold a doctorate in English from the Catholic University of America.
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 http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.
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