Monday, March 3, 2014

Denis Johnson, alumnus and former faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, will hold several public literary events in Iowa City between March 5 and 7, capped with a reading of the play Psychos Never Dream at 7 p.m. Friday, March 7, in the Dey House on the UI campus.

Denis Johnson portrait
Denis Johnson

Johnson, best known for his short-story collection Jesus' Son and his novel Tree of Smoke, is the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing Writer-in-Residence. The schedule of public events during his visit is as follows:

  • Wednesday, March 5: public Q&A session at the Writers’ Workshop, 11 a.m.-noonDey House (limited seating)
  • Thursday, March 6: public reading, 7-8 p.m. Van Allen Hall Lecture Room 1
  • Friday, March 7: reading of Psychos Never Dream, 7-9 p.m.Dey House (limited public seating)

Johnson published his first book of poetry, The Man Among Seals, in 1969 at the age of 19. He earned a measure of acclaim with the publication of his first novel, Angels, in 1983. In a 2006 New York Times Book Review poll, Jesus’ Son was voted one of the best works of American fiction published in the last 25 years. It was adapted into the 1999 film of the same name, which starred Billy Crudup.

Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It takes place during the Vietnam War, spanning the years 1963-70, with a coda set in 1983. In the novel, we learn the history of Bill Houston, a main character in Johnson’s first novel, Angels, which is set in the early 1980s.

Housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing offers students at the UI the unique opportunity to enhance their academic, creative, and professional communication skills by focusing on the written word.

Home to the Undergraduate Certificate in Writing, the Iowa Writers Living-Learning Community, the Iowa Youth Writing Project, Ink Lit Mag, and earthwords, the Magid Center’s goal is to provide support and guidance to young writers looking to expand their knowledge and experience as creators, editors, readers, teachers, and active citizens regardless of their academic background or area of study.

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 these events, call the Magid Center in advance at 319-384-1328.

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