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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 15, 2008

Ruefle, Drew and Baxter read for 'Live from Prairie Lights' Feb. 27-29

University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program visiting faculty member Mary Ruefle, Writers' Workshop graduate Alan Drew, and respected fiction writer Charles Baxter will be featured in free "Live from Prairie Lights" events at 7 p.m. Feb. 27-29 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Ruefle will read from her new poetry and prose on Wednesday, Feb. 27; Drew will read from his debut novel, "Garden of Water," on Thursday, Feb. 28; and Baxter will read from his latest novel, "The Soul Thief," on Friday, Feb. 29.

Listen to each of the readings live via the Writing University Web site at The Feb. 28 and 29 events will also 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, hosted by Julie Englander, 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.

Ruefle is the author of 10 books, most recently "Indeed I Was Pleased With The World." Her poems, prose and essays have appeared in many anthologies, and her work has been honored by fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Vermont, where she is a professor at Vermont College's Master of Fine Arts program.

Drew's novel portrays two intertwined families -- one Kurdish, one American -- as Turkey suffers a massive earthquake that he experienced first-hand as an English-literature teacher in a private school. A review in Publishers Weekly stated, "Drew, who lived in Istanbul at the time of the Marmara earthquake, effortlessly transports readers to a wrecked Istanbul and finds shards of hope in the mountains of rubble."

Baxter, a "writers' writer" who teaches at the University of Minnesota, was at the UI last spring as a guest of the Writers' Workshop. He is the author of four previous novels, four collections of short stories, three collections of poems, and a collection of essays on fiction.

He received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1997, and "The Feast of Love" was a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award. He is among the writers in America most admired by other writers.

Ron Hanson wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "Baxter's stories are intelligent, original, gracefully written, always moving, frequently funny and -- the rarest of compliments -- wise."

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 CONTACTS: Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights, 319-337-2681,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),