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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 23, 2008

'Live from Prairie Lights' lineup includes Writers' Workshop student Ellis

Mary Relindes Ellis, a student in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her award-winning 2005 novel "The Turtle Warrior" for the "Live from Prairie Lights" series at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The event will be one of three free "Live from Prairie Lights" readings that week in the bookstore. The other readings will be:

--Aryn Kyle reading from her debut novel, "The God of Animals," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5.

--fiction writers Elizabeth Crane and Achy Obejas at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8.

Listen to each of the readings live via the Writing University Web site at The 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, WOI-AM 640 in Ames and KRNI-AM 1010 in Cedar Falls.

Kyle's "The God of Animals," the story of a 12-year-old girl keeping the Colorado family horse ranch together in hard times, was described as "a perfect novel" by Andrew Sean Greer. Daphne Durham wrote, "Aryn Kyle's haunting coming-of-age novel is the kind of book that you want to share with everyone you know." Kyle's work was featured in "Best New American Voices 2008" and "The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005."

Ellis' novel, a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award and winner of the Banta Award for Literary Achievement, portrays a Wisconsin family brutalized by an alcoholic father. Sue Monk Kidd wrote, "This powerful novel will affect you deeply and linger long." A review in Publisher's Weekly concluded, "Ellis's debut is affecting and sometimes gorgeously poetic."

Ellis's stories have been anthologized in "Uncommon Waters: Women Write About Fishing," "Bless Me, Father: Stories of Catholic Childhood," "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" and "Gifts of the Wild: A Woman's Book of Adventure."

Crane, the author of "All This Heavenly Glory," will read from the new collection of comic short stories "You Must Be This Happy to Enter"; and Obejas, author of "Days of Awe" and "Memory Mambo" and the translator of Junot Diaz' "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," will read from "Havana Noir," the anthology she edited and translated, featuring dark tales about pre- and post-revolutionary Cuba.

Crane, who teaches at Northwestern and the University of Chicago, has had work published in Washington Square, New York Stories, the Sycamore Review, Book, the Florida Review, Eclipse, Bridge, the Sonora Review, the Chicago Reader, Sleepwalk, the Believer and "McSweeney's Future Dictionary of America." She received the 2003 Chicago Public Library 21st Century Award.

Obejas is also the author of the short-story collection "We Came All the Way From Cuba So You Could Dress Like That?" and the poetry collection "This Is What Happened in Our Other Life." An award-winning journalist, she worked for the Chicago Tribune for more than a decade -- including for a team that won the Pulitzer Prize -- and she writes regularly for the Washington Post and In These Times.

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 at Prairie Lights:, 319-337-2681. Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office) 319-430-1013 (cell),