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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 19, 2008

Presley reads from new University of Iowa Press memoir Oct. 3

Gary Presley will read from his memoir, "7 Wheelchairs: A Life Beyond Polio," just out from the University of Iowa Press, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, 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.

Allen Rucker, author of "The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Day and Was Paralyzed for Life," comments, "Alternating between sardonic and blunt, Gary Presley maps out an almost-50-year trek from infantile paralysis to post-polio syndrome to bonding with his power chair, Little Red; from helpless, passive cripple to defiant Gimp.

"Presley was paralyzed in the worst possible stage of life -- late adolescence -- in the 1960s when people like him were pitied and scorned, and he survived with his spirit strong and his lust for life intact. Read this unvarnished account of life at 'boob high,' and walk away with a new definition of 'disabled.'"

Peggy Vincent, who wrote "Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife" adds,  "It's a story so bitingly honest that Presley's readers sometimes cringe before turning the page, but so extremely well written that we keep turning page after page after page -- not only for the gripping story but also for the beauty of the prose."

Presley lives in Missouri and his essays have been published in the Springfield News-Leader, the Ozark Mountaineer, the Missouri Review,, Notre Dame Magazine and New Mobility.

"7 Wheelchairs" is available at bookstores or directly from the UI Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

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, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Allison Thomas, UI Press,; Jan Weissmiller, Prairie Lights,, 319-337-2681; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,