University of Iowa

Featured Archives

Sarah Vowell reading

Recorded: October 24, 2008

In this archive, Sarah Vowell reads from her book, "Wordy Shipmates."

The author of "Assassination Vacation," a regular contributor to "This American Life" and the voice of Violet in "The Incredibles," Vowell turns her wry eye to the oddities of the New England Puritans, their communities, idealism and relevance (or lack thereof) in... read more

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Jericho Brown and Amber Dermont reading

Recorded: February 15, 2015

The Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing presents the 2015 Visiting Writers-in-Residence Reading, featuring Jericho Brown and Amber Dermont.

Jericho Brown’s first collection of poetry, Please, won the 2009 American Book Award; his second collection, The New Testament, was named one of the best books of 2014 by... read more

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Francine Prose reading

Recorded: October 30, 2008

Former University of Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member Francine Prose reads from "Goldengrove" her 15th novel. Prose's main character, Nico, is a 13-year-old girl dealing with the drowning death of her adored older sister. Prose, the president of the PEN American Center, is also the author of "A Changed Man"... read more

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W.S. Merwin interview (Video)

Recorded: May 2, 2005

W.S. Merwin answers questions from an audience at the Shambaugh House (International Writing Program) on the University of Iowa campus. He discusses how politics and the media can intervene in the life of an individual. Merwin also identifies poets that have influenced his work, with a specific focus on Spanish modern poets.

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Anthony Bourdain reading

Recorded: February 1, 2002

Chef Anthony Bourdain reads from his book A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal, at Prairie Lights Bookstore.

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Carmen Maria Machado reading

Recorded: November 3, 2017

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Carmen Maria Machado reads from her short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, which is shortlisted for the 2017 National Book Award.

“Machado is... read more

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Jenny Zhang reading, Live from Prairie Lights, September 21, 2017

Recorded: September 21, 2017

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Jenny Zhang reads from her fiction debut, Sour Heart: Stories. These stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. In the absence of grown-ups, latchkey... read more

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Juliet Patterson and Amanda Nadelberg reading

Recorded: June 26, 2017

Poets Juliet Patterson and Amanda Nadelberg read from their new books at Prairie Lights Bookstore in downtown Iowa City.

Juliet Patterson reads from Threnody, her timely book of poetry lamenting climate change and extinction. These poems examine the beauty and violence of our present... read more

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Marilynne Robinson reading

Recorded: December 1, 2004

Marilynne Robinson, professor at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and author of the revered novel Housekeeping, reads from her new novel Gilead. A deeply felt and immaculately written story of three generations of Iowa ministers.

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Francine Prose reading, Live From Prairie Lights, October 30, 2008

Recorded: October 30, 2008

Former University of Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member Francine Prose reads from "Goldengrove" her 15th novel. Prose's main character, Nico, is a 13-year-old girl dealing with the drowning death of her adored older sister. Prose, the president of the PEN American Center, is also the author of "A Changed Man" and "Blue Angel" which was a... read more

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Alexander Maksik and Nathan Hill reading

Recorded: October 8, 2016

Writers’ Workshop graduate Alexander Maksik reads from his “scorching third novel" (Publisher’s Weekly), Shelter in Place. "An unsettling and beautiful exploration of mental illness, love, violence, and sexual politics. Maksik’s artful story outruns all sorts of received ideas and slips into deeply original territory. You’ll be haunted... read more

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Christopher Merrill & Marvin Bell reading

Recorded: October 24, 2016

Legendary poets Marvin Bell and Christopher Merrill read from their new book, After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts. Marvin Bell, writing from Iowa City and Port Townsend, and Christopher Merrill, writing from around the world, give us an intimate look into collaboration at its best.

"The... read more

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Lauren Collins Reading

Recorded: September 26, 2016

New Yorker Staff Writer Lauren Collins will read from her new memoir, When in French: Love in a Second Language. In her early thirties while living in London, Collins met and fell in love with a Frenchman. Their relationship was entirely in English, and Collins began to wonder what it might mean to love someone in a second... read more

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Anaïs Duplan and Louis Chude-Sokei Reading

Recorded: May 19, 2016

Current Writers’ Workshop student Anaïs Duplan reads from her new book of poetry, Take This Stallion, published by Brooklyn Arts Press. "I have never before read a book like Anaïs Duplan's Take This Stallion. Her major talent is recognizing the self in the other, making for poems that flow forward in a tone of oneness—is oneness a tone... read more

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Margaret Ross and Sara Deniz Akant reading

Recorded: April 22, 2016

Writers’ Workshop graduates Margaret Ross and Sara Deniz Akant read from their new books of poetry. Margaret Ross reads from A Timeshare, which was winner of The Omnidawn 1st/2nd Poetry Book Prize selected by Timothy Donnelly.

“In Ross’s remarkably wrought and intensely arresting first collection, we finally meet a p... read more

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Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, Marie Silkeberg and Patty Nash reading

Recorded: September 6, 2015

Residents Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta and Marie Silkeberg read at Prairie Lights Bookstore, plus current MFA candidate in literary translation Patty Nash. Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta is the author of two poetry collections: The Proxy Eros (2008) and Burning Houses (2013). Widely awarded, she was the Filipino delegate to the 2012 Medellín Poetry... read more

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David Sedaris reading

Recorded: June 11, 2011

David Sedaris reads from Me Talk Pretty One Day at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City.

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Charles D’Ambrosio reading

Recorded: November 17, 2014

Writers’ Workshop Faculty Member Charles D’Ambrosio reads from his collection Loitering: New and Collected Essays.

Loitering includes essays from the limited edition and immensely popular collection Orphans, in addition to new and previously uncollected work. Orphans ... read more

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Lauren Haldeman and Bridgette Bates reading

Recorded: November 6, 2014

Writers’ Workshop graduates Lauren Haldeman and Bridgette Bates read from their new books of poetry published by Rescue Press.

Lauren Haldeman reads from her inventive debut, Calenday. These poems travel the sleep-deprived, hallucinogenic landscape of parenting a newborn—from the... read more

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John Graber reads from Thanksgiving Dawn: Poems 1970-2008

Recorded: June 25, 2009

John Graber reads from Thanksgiving Dawn: Poems 1970-2008. Bruce Bond reads from Blind Rain: Poems.

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John Scalzi reading

Recorded: September 9, 2014

John Scalzi reads from his blazingly inventive near-future thriller Lock In. Scalzi is one of the most popular and acclaimed Science Fiction authors to emerge in the last decade. His massively successful debut Old Man’s War won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include ... read more

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Jonathan Blum reading

Recorded: June 16, 2014

Jonathan Blum reads from his novella, Last Word.

“Blum’s Last Word explores the lengths one father will travel to know his son’s heart and the distances that son will journey to keep his heart hidden . . . Richly detailed, brimming with warmth, humor, and tenderness, Last Word is a ‘honey jar’ of a book.” — Amber Dermont

Blum’s work... read more

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Leslie Jamison and Adam Fell reading

Recorded: April 1, 2014

In a special event co-sponsored by the Mission Creek Festival, Writers’ Workshop graduates Leslie Jamison and Adam Fell will read from their new work. 

Leslie Jamison will read from her new collection of essays, The Empathy Exams. Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, and a Publishers Weekly Top Ten... read more

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Denis Johnson reading

Recorded: March 6, 2014

Denis Johnson, the 2013–14 Magid Center Writer–in–Residence, reads selections from his works of fiction at 7 pm on Thursday, March 6, in Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall. This event was free and open to the public.

Denis Johnson is an American writer best known for his short story collection Jesus' Son and his novel Tree of Smoke, which... read more

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Abdelnabi, Gyasi and Manninen reading

Recorded: September 29, 2013

IWP residents Muhamed Abdelnabi (Egypt) and Teemu Manninen (Finland) are joined by a Iowa Writers Workshop fiction student Yaa Gyasi at Prairie Lights.

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Norman Mailer reading

Recorded: May 8, 1998

In this audio archive, Norman Mailer visited Iowa City to read from the anthology of his work The Time of our Time. He read at Prairie Lights Bookstore on the WSUI radio show Live From Prairie Lights on May 8, 1998.

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Curtis Bauer reading

Recorded: September 18, 2013

Curtis Bauer reads from his new book of poetry, The Real Cause For Your Absence. “Curtis Bauer is precise about birds, be they crows, chimney swifts, sparrows, swallows, starlings, cardinals, doves, or grackles. Like Robert Frost, he knows the phoebe doesn’t weep, for — like him — he is deeply versed in country things. But Bauer is... read more

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Seamus Heaney Memorial Reading

Recorded: October 8, 2013

 The IWP in conjunction with the Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights Books hosted a reading to commemorate the life and works of Irish poet Seamus Heaney (1939 - 2013), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Readers included Martin Dyar, James Galvin, Michelle Glazer, Dmitry Golynko, Richard Kenney, Mark Levine, Teemu Manninen,... read more

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Christopher Merrill reading

Recorded: October 14, 2013

Christopher Merrill reads from his most recent books of poetry, Necessities and Boat.

“Christopher Merrill is one of the most gifted, audacious, and accomplished poets of an extraordinary rich generation." - W.S. Merwin

He is the author of five previous collections of poetry, ten books of translations; six edited... read more

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Kwame Dawes reading

Recorded: October 14, 2013

Ghanaian poet and celebrated writer Kofi Awoonor was among the victims killed by terrorists at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. On Monday, October 14 at 11am CDT the International Writing Program live-streamed a memorial reading of his poetry.

The reading, hosted by Awoonor’s nephew, poet and Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor... read more

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Simon Van Booy and Lucas Hunt reading

Recorded: July 6, 2013

Simon Van Booy returns to Prairie Lights to read from his new novel, The Illusion of Separateness. This gripping novel — inspired by true events — tells the interwoven stories of a deformed German infantryman; a lonely British film director; a young, blind museum curator; two Jewish American newlyweds separated by war; and a caretaker at a... read more

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Wenonah Hauter reading

Recorded: June 21, 2013

Wenonah Hauter will read from Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America. “Hauter knows where the bodies are buried beneath the amber waves of grain. This is a terrific primer on the corporate control of food in the US, and the actions of those who fight back. By turns heartbreaking,... read more

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Geoffrey Nutter reading

Recorded: May 7, 2013

Geoffrey Nutter will read from his fourth collection of poetry, The Rose of January. Here Geoffrey Nutter beckons us into his lush imagination — where bygone monoliths cast shadows over new landscapes — a world of dreams, rife with unexpected encounters. The Rose of January reveals the craftsmanship of a poet well acquainted... read more

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Jon Kabat-Zinn reading

Recorded: October 9, 2006

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., internationally known writer, scientist and clinician in the fields of mind/body medicine, integrative medicine, lifestyle change and self-healing, reads from his latest book, "Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness" Kabat-Zinn is an emeritus professor of medicine and the founding... read more

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Michael Tyrell and Steve Kuusisto reading

Recorded: April 12, 2013

Writers’ Workshop graduates Michael Tyrell and Steve Kuusisto read from their new poetry.

Michael Tyrell reads from his recent book of poetry, The Wanted. "Like the haunted, disconnected heads on a wanted poster, Michael Tyrell’s daring and fiercely intelligent poems signify nothing less than the mystery of... read more

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Caryl Pagel and Madeline McDonnell reading

Recorded: April 16, 2013

Writers’ Workshop graduates Caryl Pagel and Madeline McDonnell will read from their poetry and fiction. Caryl Pagel read from her book of poetry, Experiments I Should Like Tried at My Own Death. “Reading Caryl’s poems is a distinct privilege—for hers is a poetry that attends to difficulty in difficult ways. … One feels... read more

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Alexandra Chasin reading

Recorded: April 14, 2013

Alexandra Chasin reads from her books Brief, and Kissed By, and then she and Cathy Lee Crane will screen their 22 minute film, Composer and I.  

In Brief, a funny, angry, hyper-articulate monologue, an art vandal makes a passionate... read more

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Vivian Gornick reading

Recorded: April 8, 2013

Vivian Gornick reads from a selection of her work in a special event co sponsored by the Nonfiction Writing Program. Gornick is the author of the acclaimed memoir Fierce Attachments and several essay collections. Her collection, The End of the Novel of Love was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

"[Gornick]... read more

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Eavan Boland reading

Recorded: October 12, 2009

Irish writer Eavan Boland, Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa, presents the annual Paul Engle Memorial Reading. Boland, who attended an IWP residency in 1979, has published nine volumes of poetry as well as two volumes of prose. She is professor of English at Stanford University and director of the creative writing... read more

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Dina Nayeri reading

Recorded: February 26, 2013

Dina Nayeri reads from A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, a magical novel about a young Iranian woman lifted from grief by her powerful imagination and love of Western culture. Fascinated with America in 1980s Iran, Saba Hafezi becomes convinced that her suddenly missing mother and twin sister have departed for America without her, a... read more

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Ayana Mathis reading

Recorded: February 25, 2013

Ayana Mathis reads from her extraordinary first novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. In a sweeping tale that moves forward and backward in time across sixty years in Georgia and Philadelphia, Mathis gives us the story of an unforgettable family—and an indomitable woman—caught in singular moment in American history.

In 1923,... read more

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Jeffrey Eugenides reading

Recorded: September 26, 2003

Author of the The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides reads from his Pulitzer Prize winning novel Middlesex.

The story is narrated by a Cal Stephanides, a hermaphrodite, who reveals what it is like living as a male and female. The story covers present day struggles, familial lineage, and Greek mythology.

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John Jeremiah Sullivan reading

Recorded: February 4, 2013

In a reading sponsored by the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, John Jeremiah Sullivan — the award-winning young star of the literary nonfiction world — reads from his work. John Jeremiah Sullivan's most recent book, Pulphead, was A New York Times Notable Book for 2011, one of Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Nonfiction... read more

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Rilla Askew reading

Recorded: February 6, 2013

Rilla Askew reads from her new novel, Kind of Kin. The story centers around Robert John Brown, a churchgoing family man and respected community member, who is caught hiding a barnful of migrant workers with no papers. He is then arrested and sent to prison. Meanwhile, his ten-year-old grandson Dustin tries to help the sole escapee of... read more

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Gerhard Loewenberg reading

Recorded: January 24, 2013

University of Iowa’s Professor Emeritus Gerhard Loewenberg reads from his new memoir, Moved by Politics. In his memoir, Loewenberg tells of twelve experiences in his life that were firsts for him. From his first experience of America as a seven year old emigrant in 1936, to his first experience entering college, to his first discovery of political... read more

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Tim Fay and the Wapsipinicon Almanac

Recorded: January 25, 2013

Tim Fay and several of this year’s contributors will read from the new issue of the Wapsipinicon Almanac. This year's issue is the 19th edition of the almanac and features contributors “Farmer Dave” Miller, Rebecca Sullivan, Dan Ehl, Will Thomson, Michael Borich, Douglas McReynolds, Ann Struthers, Daniel Brawner, and Brian Gibbs. Fay, proprietor... read more

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Susan Sontag reading

Recorded: April 27, 2000

A reading by Susan Sontag recorded on April 27, 2000, was re-broadcast, in memoriam, Dec. 31, on the "Live From Prairie Lights" series, hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM. Sontag died Dec. 28 at the age of 71. In the 2000 event, Sontag read from "In America," which later won the National Book Award. The... read more

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Aimee Bender reading

Recorded: September 6, 2005

Aimee Bender, the short story writer who set the literary world on fire with her highly praised Girl in the Flammable Skirt, reads from her marvelously goofy new collection of stories, Willful Creatures, a book of witty, often surreal stories that no other writer in America could have written.

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Anthony Bourdain reading

Recorded: February 1, 2002

In this 'Live from Prairie Lights' recording from 2002, Chef Anthony Bourdain reads from his book A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal.

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Robyn Schiff and Margaret Ross

Recorded: October 1, 2012

Alumna Robyn Schiff, director of undergraduate writing at the University of Iowa, and recent Iowa Writers’ Workshop alumna Margaret Ross, have new poetry chapbooks from Catenary Press. Schiff is the author of Revolver and Worth, both from the UI Press. Her work has been represented in several anthologies, including Legitimate Dangers: American... read more

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Michael Chabon reading

Recorded: May 4, 2008

Michael Chabon reading from his work on Live from Prairie Lights. This archive includes both audio and video recordings.

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Legitimate Dangers poetry reading

Recorded: March 24, 2006

Poets Erica Bernheim, Dan Chiasson, Srikanth Reddy, Robyn Schiff and Emily Wilson read selections from the new anthology, "Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century" which was edited by Iowa Writers' Workshop alumni Michael Dumanis and Cate Marvin. All the 85 poets featured in the anthology were born after... read more

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Jonathan Wells & Spencer Short reading

Recorded: March 5, 2012

In this audio archive, poets Jonathan Wells and Spencer Short read from their work. Jonathan Wells was the director of Rolling Stone Press, the book publishing division of Rolling Stone magazine. He is a widely published poet and the author of Train Dance, his first full-length collection of poetry. He is also the... read more

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Shane McCrae reading

Recorded: February 28, 2012

Poet and Writers' Workshop graduate Shane McCrae reads from his work. Shane McCrae is the author of Mule, published by Cleveland State University Press in 2011, and of the chapbooks One Neither One and In Canaan. His work has appeared in African American Review, Agni, The American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Effing Magazine, Typo and The... read more

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Philip Levine & Sam Hamill reading

Recorded: April 2, 1984

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Philip Levine ('57 MFA), “best known for his big-hearted, Whitmanesque poems about working-class Detroit” was named the new U.S. Poet Laureate this year. “I find him an extraordinary discovery because he introduced me to a whole new world I hadn’t connected to in poetry before,” James Billington, the librarian of... read more

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John D'Agata reading

Recorded: February 22, 2012

John D'Agata and Jim Fingal read from their new book, The Lifespan of a Fact, which focuses on the question of how negotiable a fact in nonfiction actually is. In 2003, an essay by John D’ Agata was rejected by the magazine that commissioned it due to factual inaccuracies. That essay which... read more

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Dean Young Benefit Reading

Recorded: August 31, 2011

In December, former UI faculty member Dean Young underwent emergency heart surgery and had a transplant operation in April. While Young's insurance through the University of Texas at Austin covered the surgery, poet and novelist Joseph DiPrisco, chair of the Dean Young fundraising efforts, explained that Young's out-of-pocket expenses will be... read more

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Simon Van Booy reading

Recorded: July 11, 2011

Welsh fiction writer Simon Van Booy reads from his novel Everything Beautiful Began After.

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