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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 25, 2011

UI Writing University live streams Labor Day week will include 9/11 event

Literary readings in the "Live from Prairie Lights" series during Labor Day week, streamed live from Prairie Lights Bookstore and archived on The Writing University website at, will include a Granta magazine reading focusing on the changes that have occurred in the wake of 9/11.

--Poet Christopher Merrill, director of the University of Iowa International Writing Program, will moderate the reading scheduled in conjunction with Granta 116: "Ten Years Later" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.
--Poets Robert Fernandez and Chris Martin will read from their work at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8.
--Seed Savers Exchange co-founder Diane Ott Whealy will read from her new book, "Gathering: Memoir of a Seed Saver" at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.

Merrill will be joined by UI alumna Z.Z. Packer from the fiction faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Horacio Castellanos Moya from UI Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and IWP resident writers Bina Shah of Pakistan and Kevin Bloom of South Africa.

Granta magazine is promoting readings across the country in conjunction with the "10 Years Later" issue. The purpose of these readings is to stimulate conversation about how the world has changed -— aesthetically, morally and politically -— since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The Sept. 6 Prairie Lights reading will be one of more than 30 events around the country.

On Thursday, Writers' Workshop alumnus Fernandez will read from his debut, "We Are Pharaoh," and current Writers' Workshop student Martin will read from his second book of poems, "Becoming Weather.

Poet Srikanth Reddy called Fernandez' book a "startling work (that) turns a new page on the poetry of our historical moment."

Martin, whose first book was "American Music," has been the winner of the Hayden Carruth Award. He is now an editor of Futurepoem, where he curates the blog "Futurepost."

The daughter of Iowa farmers, Missouri homesteader, and mother of five, Whealy is a leader in a grass-roots movement to preserve agricultural biodiversity. The love for the land and the respect for heirloom seeds that Diane shared with her husband, Kent Whealy, led to their starting Seed Savers Exchange in 1975.

Seed Savers Exchange is now the nation's premiere nonprofit seed-saving organization. It has a membership of more than 13,000 and its influence has been felt in gardens across America.

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

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