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Writers series opens with reading by Chang-rae Lee

September 03, 2008
Chang-rae Lee, whose first novel, ”Native Speaker” won the PEN/Hemingway Award, will open the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series with a reading at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 10 at the Burton Barr Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

The free series is sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

Chang-Rae Lee, a first-generation Korean-American novelist, graduated from Yale University and earned an MFA in writing from the University of Oregon. He now teaches at Princeton University. “Native Speaker” concerns a Korean American industrial spy, and deals with the feelings of alienation and betrayal experienced by immigrants.

A second reading this month will be given by novelist Jane Smiley at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 27, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe.

Smiley published her first novel, “Barn Blind,” in 1980. Her best-selling book, “A Thousand Acres,” based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Iowa and spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar.

Other readings in the series are:

• Oct. 2 Poets William Pitt Root and Pamela Uschuk, 7:30 p.m., Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix.

• Oct. 17 Playwright Luis Valdez, 7:30 p.m., Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, ASU’s Tempe campus.

• Nov. 7 Poet Laureate Charles Simic, 7:30 p.m., Carson Ballroom at Old Main, ASU’s Tempe campus.

• Nov. 19 Novelist Kunal Basu, 7:30 p.m., Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7373 E. Scottsdale Mall.

For more information about the readings, go to or call (480) 965-6018.