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University of Iowa News Release


June 3, 2008

Historian Rebecca Stott will read from her bestselling novel June 12

British historian Rebecca Stott will read from "Ghostwalk," her bestselling debut novel, just out in paperback, at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 12, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading is part of the "Live from Prairie Lights' series, hosted by Julie Englander for broadcast on Iowa Public Radio.

Hour-long "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. Or listen to the live event via the University of Iowa Writing University website:

Stott used her knowledge and skills as an historian to write an historical mystery that is both accurate in period detail and involving for readers. A review in the New Yorker commented, "Drawing on alchemy, neurology, animal-rights activism, and supernatural visitations, this debut novel is an ambitious, learned thriller . . . Stott deploys her research effortlessly."

A starred review in Publishers Weekly called the book an "hypnotic and intelligent thriller" and summarized, "The mysterious drowning death of Elizabeth Vogelsang, a Cambridge University scholar who was almost finished writing a controversial biography of Isaac Newton, leads her son, Cameron Brown, to recruit Lydia Brooke, his former lover, to complete the book. That request plunges Brooke into probing two ostensibly separate series of murders: One in the 17th century claimed the lives of several who stood between Newton and the fellowship he needed to continue his studies at Cambridge; the other in the present day appears to target those who have offended a radical animal rights group.

"Brooke's work may be haunted by a ghost from Newton's time who guides her to a radical reinterpretation of the role of alchemy and the supernatural in Newton's life. Much more than a clever whodunit, this taut, atmospheric novel with its twisty interconnections between past and present will leave readers hoping Stott has many more stories in her future."

Stott is the author of several academic books on Victorian literature and culture, two books of non-fiction, including a partial biography of Charles Darwin, and a cultural history of the oyster. She is now a professor of English literature and creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jan Weissmuller, Prairie Lights,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office) 319-430-1013 (cell),