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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 30, 2008

Museum of Art reading series features Peters and Beard Nov. 14

The University of Iowa Museum of Art's (UIMA) "Word Painters" reading series continues with a presentation by UI Nonfiction Writing Program (NWP) graduate student David Torrey Peters and celebrated author Jo Ann Beard. The free event will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum on the UI Pentacrest.

Reading from "The Dressing Room," Peters will tackle issues from cross-dressing and gender roles to coming of age with access to the Internet. The essay was selected as a finalist in Narrative Magazine's "First Person Story Contest," and will be published next fall by Fourth Genre magazine.

Peters, a Chicago native, attended high school in West Branch and graduated from Hampshire College in Massachusetts. His writing tends toward literary journalism and has taken him to Cameroon, the Dominican Republic and, most recently, to Bearcreek, Mont. This ghost town was the site of one of the worst mining disasters in U.S. history, and Peters is digging into the history of its 1920s pre-disaster boomtown inhabitants.

Beard, a distinguished graduate of the UI Nonfiction Writing Program, is a current English department faculty member. She grew up in Moline, Ill., and now lives in Rhinebeck, N.Y. She is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of autobiographical essays "The Boys of My Youth," which was named a Notable Book by the New York Times.

Using a distinctive meld of fiction and nonfiction, Beard's stories explore personal themes from family fights to crank calls. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Story, Tin House, the Iowa Review and "Best American Essays." She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction writing, a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a Whiting Award for Emerging Writers. Currently she is completing a novel.

The reading is a part of the UIMA "Word Painters" program -- formerly UIMA Writer-in-Residence -- that was created in the fall of 2006 to foster writing about the visual arts. Since the devastating June flood left the museum without a building, the UIMA has adapted this existing collaboration with the NWP to produce the UIMA "Word Painters."

The four graduate students chosen to be UIMA word painters receive an honorarium to work on various writing projects, including an art-based essay. At the end of their three-month appointment, each UIMA word painter presents a free, public reading alongside a well-known writer with ties to the UI's famed writing programs.

UIMA graduate-student writers for 2008 are sponsored by Mary K. Calkin. For more information on the UI Museum of Art, including updated event listings, visit

The Nonfiction Writing Program is part of the Department of English in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For more information visit

For UI arts information and calendar updates visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Maggie Anderson, UI Museum of Art, 319-335-1739,; Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),