CORVALLIS, Ore. - A Pacific Northwest writer who has received national praise for his novels and investigative journalism will visit Oregon State University on Friday, Nov. 20. Jess Walter will read from his new novel, "The Financial Lives of the Poets," a darkly comic tour de force released this fall to critical acclaim.

The literary event, sponsored by the OSU Visiting Writers Series, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library's main floor rotunda. The reading will be followed by a question-and-answer session as well as a book signing. The event is free and open to the public.

Walter is the author of four previous novels, including "The Zero," a finalist for the National Book Award; "Citizen Vince," which won the Edgar Award for Best Novel; "Land of the Blind"; and "Over Tumbled Graves," a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He is also the author of the nonfiction book "Ruby Ridge," about the federal standoff with Randy Weaver.

An investigative journalist for many years, Walter lives with his family in Spokane, Wash. His newest novel, "The Financial Lives of the Poets," has received near-universal acclaim. The New York Times wrote that the book is "an apt and timely version of the current Great Recession ... dangerously astute." And the Washington Post's review said the novel is "A deliciously antic tale of an American dream gone very sour ... sharp, wide-eyed, soulful ... a scathing indictment of our country's character and the 'ruined systems' we labor under." Popular Web site The Daily Beast listed it as one of the best books of the fall of 2009.

Walter's visit to Corvallis is part of the 2009-10 Visiting Writers Series, supported by the OSU Department of English, The Valley Library, and the Office of the Provost.

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Marjorie Sandor, 541-737-1648