Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


April 29, 2008

Gessen, Revoyr and Durham read for 'Live from Prairie Lights' May 5-8

Novelists Keith Gessen and Nina Reyoyr and University of Iowa journalism faculty member Meenakshi Gigi Durham (photo, left) will read for Iowa Public Radio's "Live from Prairie Lights" series the week of May 5-8.

The free events, hosted by WSUI's Julie Englander, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Prairie Lights book store at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City:

--Gessen, founder editor of n+1 magazine, reading from "All the Sad Young Literary Men" on Monday, May 5.
--Revoyr reading from "The Age of Dreaming" on Tuesday, May 6.
--Durham reading from her blockbuster study of the commercial sexualization of young girls, "The Lolita Effect," on Thursday, May 8.

The events will be recorded for broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on UI radio station WSUI-AM 910. Hour-long Iowa Public Radio "Live from Prairie Lights" productions air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on WSUI-AM 910 in Iowa City and WOI-AM 640 in Ames.

Jonathan Yardley wrote of Gessen's novel for the Washington Post, "This interesting and agreeable first novel, by a young writer who already packs a formidable resumé, is a considerably better-than-average exercise in slacker fiction . . . (Gessen) has a deft satiric touch and a nice feel for irony." And a starred Kirkus review called the book "A fiercely intelligent, darkly funny first novel."

Revoyr is the author of "The Necessary Hunger" and "Southland." She set her new novel in Los Angeles at a time when Sunset Boulevard was a dirt road, and her protagonist is a Japanese silent film star discovering his hidden psycho-history.

Jerry Stahl, the author of "I, Fatty," wrote, "'The Age of Dreaming' is a masterpiece of the sort that doesn't just seduce the reader -- it leaves you transformed. Nina Revoyr deserves to be counted among the top ranks of novelists at work today."

Durham has caused an international sensation with her study of the expectations and myths behind the sexualization of 'tween girls in American culture.

A review in Publishers Weekly summarized, "We've all seen it -- the tiny T-shirts with sexually suggestive slogans, the four-year-old gyrating to a Britney Spears song, the young boy shooting prostitutes in his video game -- and University of Iowa journalism professor Durham has had enough.

"In her debut book, she argues that the media -- from advertisements to Seventeen magazine -- are circulating damaging myths that distort, undermine and restrict girls' sexual progress. Durham, who describes herself as 'pro-girl' and 'pro-media,' does more than criticize profit-driven media, recognizing as part of the problem Americans' contradictory willingness to view sexualized ad images but not to talk about sex.

"Chapters expose five media myths: that by flaunting her 'hotness' a little girl is acting powerfully; that Barbie has the ideal body; that children -- especially little girls -- are sexy; that violence against women is sexy; and that girls must learn what boys want, but not vice versa.

"After debunking each myth, Durham offers practical suggestions for overcoming these falsehoods, including sample questions for parents and children. In a well-written and well-researched book, she exposes a troubling phenomenon and calls readers to action."

Durham's research on adolescent girls and media has appeared in Youth & Society and Critical Studies in Media Communication, and she served on the editorial board of "The Encyclopedia of Children, Adolescents and the Media." She was also the co-editor of "Media and Cultural Studies." Learn more about her and her research at

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.

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication is a unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jan Weissmuller,; Allison Thomas, UI Press,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations,