Friday, March 28, 2014

In a special event co-sponsored by the Mission Creek Festival, University of Iowa professor Kembrew McLeod and Brooklyn fiction writer D. Foy will read from their new books at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, 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.

McLeod, professor of communication studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will read from his new work of nonfiction, Pranksters. Profiling the most notorious mischief-makers from the 1600s to the present day, Pranksters explores how “pranks” are part of a long tradition of speaking truth to power and social critique. Invoking such historical and contemporary figures as P.T. Barnum, Jonathan Swift, WITCH, The Yes Men, and Stephen Colbert, McLeod shows how staged spectacles that balance the serious and humorous can spark important public conversations.

“In locating mischief at the center of media history, Pranksters transforms what, up until now, has been a series of odd footnotes into a rich and hilarious story about the making of the modern world. Pranksters is smart, lucid, and funny—but it’s no joke,” says Ted Striphas, communication studies faculty member at Indiana University.

McLeod is a writer, filmmaker, and occasional prankster. He is the author of Creative License, Cutting Across Media, Owning Culture, and the award-winning Freedom of Expression®. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice, and Rolling Stone.

Foy will read from Made to Break, newly published by Two Dollar Radio. “Reading D. Foy's prose is like watching Robert Stone and Wallace Stevens drag race across a frozen lake at midnight,” says Iowa Writers’ Workshop grad Anthony Swofford.

Foy has had work published or forthcoming in Bomb, Post Road, The Literary Review, The Georgia Review, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and Laundromat, an homage to photographs of laundromats throughout New York City.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to attend this reading, call Jan Weissmiller at Prairie Lights in advance at 319-337-2681.

For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the Arts Iowa website.