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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release April 7, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

“The Last Lecture” author visits State Historical Building April 22

Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow discusses new book about Ames women

(DES MOINES) – Wall Street Journal columnist and author Jeffrey Zaslow visits Central Iowa this month to discuss his latest book about 11 childhood friends from Ames who forged a special bond that has endured more than 40 years.

 Zaslow, co-author of the international bestseller, “The Last Lecture,” will discuss “The Girls from Ames: The Story of Women & a Forty-Year Friendship” (Gotham Books) at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The event, sponsored by the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, is free and open to the public.

 “We are very grateful to partner with the Iowa Commission on the Status Women to bring Jeffrey Zaslow to Des Moines to talk about The Girls from Ames,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said. “Women will identify with this book, and men will see their wives, daughters, mothers, aunts and nieces with a totally new perspective. I encourage everybody to bring a friend and enjoy this special presentation.”

 In the book, Zaslow chronicles the lives of the “Ames Girls,” who now live in eight different states, yet manage to maintain an enduring friendship that has carried them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child’s illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group.

 Capturing their remarkable story, “The Girls from Ames” is a testament to the deep bonds of women as they experience life’s joys and challenges – and the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy.

 This book also illustrates how close female relationships can shape every aspect of women’s lives – their sense of themselves, their choice of men, their need for validation, their relationships with their mothers, their dreams for their daughters – and reveals how such friendships thrive, rewarding those who have committed to them.

At the event, copies of “The Girls from Ames” will be available for purchase and signing by the author. Learn more about the “Ames Girls” at www.girlsfromames.com.

 As a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Zaslow focuses on life transitions and often attracts wide media interest. He also co-authored “The Last Lecture,” a #1 New York Times bestseller that has been translated into 36 languages.

 “The Last Lecture” is the story of Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, with 4 million copies in print in the United States alone. The video of Pausch’s last lecture has become a worldwide phenomenon viewed by tens of millions of people on the Internet and television, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and an hour-long ABC prime-time special hosted by Diane Sawyer.

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women is a state agency that champions the success and wellbeing of women and girls through responsive advocacy. With the commitment of nine citizen Commissioners from around the state, our vision is to grow Iowa’s opportunities so that every woman and girl can reach her full potential.

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