Wednesday, May 1, 2013
robin hemley portrait
Robin Hemley

Robin Hemley, director of the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, will read from Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness, at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, in a free reading at Prairie Lights Books in downtown Iowa City. The reading also will be streamed live on the University of Iowa Writing University website.

The evidence at hand: an autobiography—complete with their mother’s edits—written by his brilliant and disturbingly religious sister; a story featuring actual childhood events, but published by his mother as fiction; the transcript of a hypnotherapy session from his adolescence; and court documents hidden in a drawer for decades. These are the clues Hemley gathers when he sets out to reconstruct the life of his older sister Nola, who died at the age of 25 after several years of treatment for schizophrenia. Armed with these types of clues, Hemley quickly discovers that finding the truth in any life—even one’s own—is a fragmented and complex task.

Read more about Hemley’s memoir at

Hemley, an alumnus of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on DO-OVER!. He has published eight books, and his stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and many literary magazines and anthologies. He is also the editor of Defunct magazine.

The Nonfiction Writing Program and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop reside within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this reading, call Jan Weissmiller at Prairie Lights, 319-337-2681. For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the new Arts Iowa website.