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University of Iowa News Release


May 30, 2007

Seliy Reads From Debut Novel June 1

First-time novelist Shuana Seliy will read from her novel "When We Get There" in a free event at 7 p.m. Friday, June 1, 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.

Michael Cart wrote in a starred Booklist review, "Before dying in an underground explosion, Lucas' coal-miner father had a dream: He and his son, together, would find a special place in the Allegheny Forest called Heart's Content. But now Lucas, 13, has his own quest: to find his mother, who -- deeply depressed by her husband's death -- has gone away, leaving the boy with his grandmother, Slats, and the stern admonition not to search for her.

"Might as well tell the sun not to rise in the east! But Lucas isn't the only one looking for his mother: Zoli, a possibly deranged local man, is also on her trail. All of this drama is played out before the richly textured backdrop of Lucas' huge Russian, Croatian and Hungarian family and the small western Pennsylvania mining community they inhabit.

"The word lovely might well have been coined for the express purpose of describing the sensibility that informs this splendid first novel. Seliy clearly knows her characters and their world intimately and manages to re-create them with dignity, humor, and a clear-eyed appreciation of their superstitions, failings, and small triumphs. Lucas may or may not find his heart's content, but readers surely will . . . in this exquisite work of fiction."

Curtis Sittenfeld, a UI alumna who wrote the novel "Prep," said, "It is impossible not to fall in love with this book."

Seliy's previous work has appeared in the New Orleans Review, Meridian and Other Voices. She has received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.

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; cell: 310-430-1013;