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University of Iowa News Release


July 7, 2011

Thomas Fox Averill, a Writers' Workshop alumnus, opens week of UI live streams

Thomas Fox Averill, an alumnus of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and a faculty member of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, will launch a week of live literary-reading streams on at 7 p.m. Monday, July 18.

The readings, originating in free events at Prairie Lights Books in downtown Iowa City, will also feature:

--Novelist Donald Ray Pollock reading from "The Devil All the Time" at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 21.
--And poets Anne Shaw and Traci Brimhall, at 7 p.m. Friday, July 22.

Averill will read from his new novel "Rode," which fleshes out the plot line of the famous song "Tennessee Stud." This is an historical tale of romance, villains, heroes, youth, horses, horse thieves, murder, mules, revenge and redemption, all concocted from the words of a country song.

Averill is a professor of English and writer-in-residence at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He has won an O. Henry Award, and his early stories are in "Passes at the Moon" and "Seeing Mona Naked." His novels are "Secrets of the Tsil Café" and "The Slow Air of Ewan Macpherson." A collection of stories, "Ordinary Genius, was published in 2005.

Pollock grew up in Knockemstiff, Ohio and quit high school at age 17 to work in a meatpacking plant. He then spent 32 years employed as a laborer at the Mead Paper Corporation in Chillicothe, before enrolling in the Master of Fine Arts program at Ohio State University. His first book, a collection of stories called "Knockemstiff," won the 2009 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship.

Anne Shaw, who is both a sculptor and a poet, is the author of "Undertow," winner of the 2007 Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in numerous journals, including New American Writing, Verse, the Beloit Poetry Journal and Gulf Coast. She recently launched the Twitter Poetry Project.

Carolyn Forché wrote, "'Undertow' is an exploration, in the key of doubt, of all that moves below the surface of a cosmos riddled with light. We are first invited into a closely perceived natural world, pruned back but always recovering its mysteries, and then we are captured by Shaw's magnificent 'Discoverie of Witchcraft,' before we are swept into the tsunami's aftermath in Thailand, she of her very particular departure into the unknown. She is brilliantly exact. Noticing the way a greenbottle fly'/ alights on a grain of rice. Such exactitude is rare, as is this poems synthesizing vision."

Traci Brimhall is the author of "Rookery," winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, and "Our Lady of the Ruins," selected by Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize. She holds degrees from Florida State University and Sarah Lawrence College, and she teaches creative writing at Western Michigan University, where she is a doctoral candidate and a King/Chávez/?Parks Fellow. She also serves as poetry editor for Third Coast and editor-at-large for Loaded Bicycle. Learn more at

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

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDA CONTACTS: Jan Weissmiller, Winston Barclay, University News Services,