Nicholson Baker reads April 5
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Fiction and nonfiction author Nicholson Baker will be an Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Baker's visit will include two free events on Thursday, April 5:
- A question-and-answer session at 11 a.m. in the Frank Conroy Reading Room of Dey House
- A reading at 8 p.m. in Room W151 of Pappajohn Business Building
Baker has written novels about the consciousness of a man on an escalator who has just bought shoelaces, a man feeding his six-month-old daughter, trials of a poet trying to overcome writer's block and finish the introduction to an anthology, and the thoughts of a 9-year-old girl, but he is best known for a "trilogy" of books that are frankly sexual.
Vox is a transcript of a phone-sex conversation; The Fermata is told by a man who uses time-suspending power to stage sexual episodes; and most recently House of Holes: A Book of Raunch.
But racy or not, his work is known for its craft and scrupulous attention to detail. A feature in the New York Times described him as "one of the most beautiful, original, and ingenious prose stylists to have come along in decades."
Baker told an NPR reporter, "I want the books to be about things that you don't notice when you're noticing them. You kind of notice things in passing, and never put a frame around them—and then somebody like me comes along and writes a book about them. And then that book itself becomes the frame."
The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program was established in 1978-79 with the income from a bequest to the university by the late Ida Cordelia Beam of Vinton.