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University of Iowa News Release


June 23, 2009

'Live from Prairie Lights' features Stephen Lovely July 7

The "Live from Prairie Lights" reading series, which is streamed live and archived on the University of Iowa Writing University Web site at, will feature Stephen Lovely, an Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate and the director of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio, on Tuesday, July 7.

The reading will originate as a free public event at 7 p.m. in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Lovely, who also worked as a night clerk in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the UI Hospitals and Clinics for seven years, titled his first novel "Irreplaceable."

Ann Hood, author of "Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine," called the book "wise, heartbreaking, funny, and human in every possible way." She wrote: "In this debut novel, he manages to humanize the sterile world of heart transplants, the faceless victims and lucky receivers of their organs, and the families who are touched forever by happenstance. Irreplaceable is unforgettable. I simply love this book."

A starred review in Publishers Weekly stated: "Lovely's debut novel, a touching journey of the heart, tracks what happens to two Midwestern families after a death and a gift of life. Archeologist Alex Voormann and his plant biologist wife, Isabel, had a pleasant enough life in Iowa until Isabel was struck and killed while riding her bicycle. Alex reluctantly complies with her wish to be an organ donor, which saves the life of Janet Corcoran, a 34-year-old Chicago art teacher and mother of two.

"Lovely thoughtfully weaves the tales of these two families together, tracing the realities of love and loss of all kinds as Alex attempts to move on, the man who was driving the truck that killed Isabel begins popping up in unexpected places, and Janet seeks out Alex and Isabel's mother to thank them and express her guilt and empathy. Lovely does a great job of staying out of sappy melodrama as the gravity of Isabel's death pulls the cast together in memorable fashion. The delicate handling of loaded material, attention to detail, and depth of character make this a standout."

Every summer, 120 young writers from across the country come together at the Young Writers' Studio to share their work, practice their craft, and improve their writing in America's first City of Literature. Visit the program's Web site at

Follow Lovely on Twitter at

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