Yesterday I defended my master's project AND got to attend the reading by Ann Patchett here in Iowa City. Elizabeth McCracken, a friend of the author and one of the workshop instructors here at Iowa introduced her -- by far the nicest, funniest, and most glowing introduction I've experienced at one of these events. McCracken is Patchett's first reader, meaning she gets to read what the author is writing as she is writing it. McCracken said: "If you come across an Ann Patchett at your time here at Iowa, hold tight to her."
Patchett read for about half an hour from her new novel Run, with a voice so clear, crisp and evocative that I wasn't surprised to learn that she was a state debate champion as a young woman.
Later I went up to have my copy of Truth & Beauty signed and outed myself as the writer of the column in PW that complained about how she wasn't coming to Iowa. Apparently, the last time she was scheduled to read at Prairie Lights, she threw up before the event and vowed never to set foot back on Iowa soil.