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Stephen Pett, English, (515) 294-8273
Colin Rafferty, English, (515) 294-3062
Dave Gieseke, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, (515) 294-7742
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's Creative Writing Program will host a 10-event, visiting writers' series called "Imagining the Land." A highlight of the series is a Sept. 26 reading featuring Jane Smiley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former Iowa State faculty member.

"Imagining the Land" is a series of public readings and lectures by visiting poets and writers from diverse geographical regions whose work addresses how place shapes the cultures and narratives that arise from imagined landscapes.

The series will feature a reading and birthday party for Smiley, formerly an Iowa State distinguished professor of English and author of nine novels, including "A 1,000 Acres," "The Age of Grief," and "Moo." Smiley's reading will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the Brunnier Gallery, Scheman Building.

Smiley also will take part in Voices from the Prairie: The Third Annual Iowa Writer's Celebration, at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in the Memorial Union's Sun Room. She and John Cole, director of the National Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, will discuss Iowa writers.

Other scheduled events in the "Imagining the Land" visiting writers series include:
  • Poetry Reading -- Todd Davis and Katharine Whitcomb, 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, Lynn Fuhrer YMCA Lodge, 1820 Scholl Road, Ames. Davis is the chair of the English department at Goshen College, Goshen, Ind., and author of several books of criticism. Whitcomb has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., and a Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of a poetry collection, "The Saints of South Dakota and Other Poems." Davis and Whitcomb currently are visiting writers-in-residence at Iowa State.

  • The Flatness and Other Landscape: Essays in Search of the Midwest -- Michael Martone, 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15, Oak Room, Memorial Union. Martone has written five books of short fiction, including "Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler's List," and "Alive and Dead in Indiana." He is the professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. The former Iowa State professor's newest book, "The Flatness and Other Landscapes," won the Associated Writing Programs' (Fairfax, Virginia) Prize for Creative Nonfiction in 1998.

  • The Long Life of a Short Story Collection -- Gina Ochsner, 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6, Oak Room, Memorial Union. Ochsner has received the William Faulkner Award, the Raymond Carver Award and, most recently, the Flannery O'Conner Award for short fiction for her collection of short stories, "The Necessary Grace to Fall."

  • The Story of Corn -- Betty Fussell, 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 23, Sun Room, Memorial Union. Fussell lectures on food history and has written nine books, including "Eating In," "Food in Good Season," and "The Story of Corn." A food and travel journalist, Fussel's articles have appeared in the New York Times, Holiday, Cosmopolitan and Vogue.

  • Funk Lore: An Evening with Amiri Baraka -- Amiri Baraka, 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan.30, 2003, Sun Room, Memorial Union. Poet, playwright and political activist, Baraka is an influential writer in the Beat movement. He published numerous books of poetry, plays, works of fiction and collections of essays and speeches, including "Transbluesency," "Funk Love," and "Blues People." Baraka is the Poet Laureate of New Jersey.

  • Havana Thursdays: A Reading -- Virgil Suarez, 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, 2003, Sun Room, Memorial Union. Fiction writer and poet, Suarez is the author of several books of poetry, including "Palm Crows," "In the Republic of Longing," "You Come Singing" and "Spared Angola." His novels include "The Cutter," "Going Under," and "Havana Thursdays." He is a professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University, Tallahassee.

  • The Writer as Environmentalist and Activist -- Barry Lopez, 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003, Sun Room, Memorial Union. Nature writer, essayist, short story writer and international traveler, Lopez is the author of "Arctic Dreams," for which he received the National Book Award. In his nonfiction books, "About This Life" and "Of Wolves and Men," Lopez examines the relationship between physical landscape and human culture.

  • Sweet Scat and Jump Rope Hymns: A Reading -- Tim Seibles, 8 p.m., Thursday, March 27, 2003, Gallery, Memorial Union. Seibles is the author of three poetry collections: "Hurdy Gurdy," "Kerosene," and "Body Moves."

"Imagining the Land" is sponsored by the ISU Creative Writing Program (department of English) and various other campus and outside entities.


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