Bestselling author Jane Smiley  visited the Columbia Public Library  April 8 as part of Missouri's state-wide reading program, ReadMOre . Her 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "A Thousand Acres ," was selected for this year's program, and the author began her appearance by reading a short passage from the book. Inspired by Shakespeare's King Lear , the story is about a successful Iowa farmer and how his farm is to be inherited by his three daughters.
After the reading, Smiley opened the floor to questions. Many in the audience had specific questions about "A Thousand Acres." Others asked more general questions about how to get started writing (answer: "One day you sit down and start writing") and what motivates her to keep writing (answer: "My horses would be very hungry if I gave up now"). Smiley was comfortable and friendly answering questions, which stands to reason as she taught undergraduate and graduate creative writing workshops at Iowa State University from 1981 to 1996. She currently lives in California, and her most recent novel is Ten Days in the Hills  (2007).
Funding for Smiley's appearance was provided by the Missouri Humanities Council .