Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley to speak at UC Santa Cruz

She's well known for her novels, but when writer Jane Smiley speaks at the Dickens Universe conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz, it will be in a different guise: As a biographer of the man himself, Charles Dickens.

Smiley, author of Charles Dickens (New York: Viking Press, 2002), will read from and discuss her biography of Dickens on August 1 at 3:45 p.m. in Kresge College Town Hall. Her talk, which is part of the 22nd annual Dickens Universe, is free and open to the public. Copies of Smiley's Dickens biography will be available for purchase at the event.

"Jane Smiley's biography of Dickens is readable and full of information," said John Jordan, professor of literature at UC Santa Cruz and director of the Dickens Project, a UCSC-based research group that coordinates the Dickens Universe. "Smiley's speculations about the motives and methods of Dickens the writer are informed by her own experience both as a practicing novelist and as a lifelong admirer of Dickens."

Smiley will be one fan among many at the conference, which draws participants of all ages from across the state and around the world. Attendees include not only university faculty and graduate students, but also high school teachers and students, Elderhostel participants, and others who are interested in the life, work, and times of the Victorian author.

Attendees of the Smiley book talk are encouraged to park in the Core West Parking Garage, which is located a short walk from Kresge College Town Hall. For more information on the book talk and this year's Dickens Universe conference, contact the Dickens Project at (831) 459-2103 or visit the web site [http://humwww.ucsc.edu/dickens/]