CORVALLIS, Ore. - David Shields, author of the controversial new book, "Reality Hunger," will read from that work on Friday, Oct. 8, in the Oregon State University Valley Library's main rotunda.

The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public; a book signing will follow.

"Reality Hunger: A Manifesto" has caused a stir in the world of literature. A pastiche of quotations and snippets put together by the author to express his own thoughts and observations for the 21st century, it challenges conventional notions of narrative and individual authorship.

"I had the sudden intuition that I could take various fragments of things - aborted stories, outtakes from novels, journal entries, lit crit - and build a story out of them," Shields said.

Tim Parks, the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction, including "Tongues of Flame" and "Italian Neighbors," has said that "'Reality Hunger' demolishes all the conventional literary pieties to which nearly everyone pays eager lip service."

Portland author Charles D'Ambrosio calls "Reality Hunger" "one of the most provocative books I've ever read. It's perfect for now, for our time: it has that vitality. It's truly great. I think it's destined to become a classic."

Born in Los Angeles, Shields attended Brown University and received his master of fine arts degree at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. His previous books include "The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead" and "Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season."

His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times magazine, Harper's, Yale Review, Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney's, and the Utne Reader. Among his many awards and honors are a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships to the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award.

Shields teaches creative writing at the University of Washington, and is also on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

His visit to Corvallis is part of OSU's 2010-11 Visiting Writer's Series and is sponsored by The Valley Library, the OSU English Department, and the OSU Bookstore.

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Marjorie Sandor, 541-737-1648