May 18 - 21, 2017

Jane Smiley
Public Reading — Friday, May 19
Porter Center for Performing Arts — 7:30 pm
Free Admission

There are only two stories–someone comes to town, someone leaves town. What makes every story interesting is “Who is that someone?” and “Where is that town?” Specificity about setting makes a story seem real and interesting. What if Jane Eyre took place in Queensland, Australia? What if The Odyssey took place in the Caribbean? The characters would think and act differently, in accordance with how they were shaped by their worlds, and the stories would progress differently, too, because the characters would encounter different challenges. For the writer, the challenge is to depict the landscape and understand its meaning. This means, how and what do we observe, how and what do we analyze?  

Jane Smiley is a novelist and essayist. Her novel A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992, and her novel The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton won the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1987. Her novel Horse Heaven was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002, and her novel, Private Life, was chosen as one of the best books of 2010 by The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.

She has contributed to a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including The New Yorker, Elle, Outside, The New York Times, Harper’s, The American Prospect, Practical Horseman, The Guardian, The Nation, Real Simple, and Playboy, and she regularly blogged for The Huffington Post between 2005 and 2008.

In addition to novels for adults, she has written several works of nonfiction, including Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, a history and anatomy of the novel as a form, and The Man Who Invented the Computer, an account of the complex and sometimes amazing circumstances that led to one of  the most important inventions of the 20th century. She has also published a five volume horse series for young adults.  Her most recent novels SOME LUCK, EARLY WARNING and GOLDEN AGE compromise THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS trilogy covering one hundred years in the life of an Iowa family.