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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 18, 2008

Note: Date change, previously listed as Oct. 2

Writers' Workshop faculty member Ethan Canin reads from new novel Nov. 17

University of Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member Ethan Canin will read from his new novel, "America America," at 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 17, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Web site

The event will be recorded for broadcast on Iowa Public Radio's "Live from Prairie Lights" series. Hour-long "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by WSUI's 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.

"America America" was a New York Times and Indienext bestseller, an NPR summer book recommendation, and the July pick for the Barnes and Noble Recommends program.

Ron Charles wrote in the Washington Post: "America America is Ethan Canin's best novel, but its timing is unnerving. His ruminative story begins with a funeral for the country's greatest liberal senator, whose presidential ambitions were smashed years earlier by the death of a young campaign aide in a drunk-driving accident. The novel really isn't about Sen. Ted Kennedy, but the resemblance is impossible to ignore, and Kennedy's recent announcement that he has a malignant brain tumor has already started, for many of us, the process of reflection that 'America America' records in such sensitive detail. . . .

"We've waited a long time for a worthy successor to Robert Penn Warren's 'All the King's Men,' and it couldn't have arrived at a more auspicious moment than this season of potentially epochal political change."

Heller McAlpin wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "It's refreshing -- and almost quaint -- to see someone try to write a Great American Novel in the 21st century. These days, writers are more apt to pursue the Great American Screenplay or the Not-So-Great American Ironic, Postmodern Fiction.

"But Ethan Canin's sixth book, with its flag-waving title, 'America America,' is a big, ambitious, old-fashioned, quintessentially American novel about politics, power, ambition, class, ethics and loyalty. . . . Bravo to Canin for tackling the American Dream, which we're forever running off the road and then trying to resuscitate."

Listen to the NPR interview with Canin at

Canin studied at the Writers' Workshop and then attended Harvard Medical School. He is the author of the novels "Blue River," "For Kings and Planets" and "Carry Me Across the Water," and the short-story collections "Emperor of the Air" and "The Palace Thief." Films of his work include "The Year of Getting to Know Us," "Beautiful Ohio," "The Emperor's Club," "Emperor of the Air" and "Blue River."

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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: Ethan Canin, UI Writers' Workshop,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,