Jim Bittermann, Amy Tan and Nancy Grace Coming to ISU

June 13 2006

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - CNN's senior European correspondent Jim Bittermann will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 in Indiana State University's Tilson Auditorium as part of the 2006 - 2007 University Speakers Series.

Jim Bittermann Bittermann, based in Paris, will share some of the behind the scenes stories that he has gathered since 2004 in France as the DaVinci Code grew in popularity and was made into a film. Bittermann, who has covered France, Europe and the Middle East for the past 28 years, will bring along some video not seen in the U.S., of the real people and places which figure in the book and film, as well as a behind the scenes look at some of the work in Paris that went into the making of the film.

Since joining CNN in 1996, he has covered the death of Princess Diana in 1997, NATO air strikes on Kosovo in 1998, the earthquake in Turkey in 1999 and the World Cup soccer championships, the death of Pope and the election of a Pope, the DaVinci Code's guide to Paris, the last days of Yassir Arafat, the 60th anniversary of D-Day, and the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

Bittermann joined CNN from ABC News, where he was a Paris news correspondent from 1990-1996. During his years with ABC, he covered the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Gulf War and the Middle East peace process and U.S. deployment in Somalia.

From 1978-1990, Bittermann was a European correspondent for NBC News. Based in Rome from 1978-1979, he covered two Papal transitions and the travels of Pope John Paul II. From 1980-1990, he was based in Paris. He received a national news Emmy Award for his coverage of the 1988 Sudan famine.

Prior to NBC, Bittermann was a Toronto-based correspondent and producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s newsmagazine. He also worked as a reporter for WKYC-TV in Cleveland and WQED-TV, a public television station in Pittsburgh.

In 1971-1972, Bittermann traveled the national presidential campaign staffs of Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana and Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine. He began his career in broadcast journalism in 1970 at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, after one year as a newspaper reporter with the Waukegan News-Sun in Waukegan, Ill. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University.

Amy Tan Amy Tan, who catapulted to success with her bestseller "The Joy Luck Club," will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 16, in Tilson Auditorium. A book signing and reception is planned immediately following her talk in Heritage Lounge.

Tan worked as a full-time freelance business writer prior to achieving success in literary circles.

Her first story "Endgame," won her admission to the Squaw Valley writer's workshop taught by novelist Oakley Hall. The story appeared in FM, a literary magazine, and was reprinted in Seventeen. A literary agent, Sandra Dijkstra, was impressed enough with Tan's second story "Waiting Between the Trees," to take her on as a client.

On the basis of the completed chapters and a synopsis of the others, literary agent Sandra Dijkstra found a publisher for the book, now called "The Joy Luck Club." With a $50,000 advance from G.P. Putnam's Sons, Tan quit business writing and finished her book in a little more than four months.

Upon its publication in 1989, Tan's book won enthusiastic reviews and spent eight months on the New York Times best-seller list. Paperback rights sold for $1.23 million. The book has been translated in 17 languages, including Chinese.

This year's Speakers Series will conclude at 7 p.m. Feb. 20, 2007, in Tilson Auditorium with CNN legal analyst Nancy Grace.

Nancy Grace Over the last decade, Grace has covered a wide range of landmark legal cases from Scott Peterson to Martha Stewart to Kobe Bryant. Grace has utilized her vast reserve of legal expertise by serving as a TV commentator on CNN's Larry King Live, NBC's Weekend Today, ABC's The View, The Oprah Winfrey Show and numerous other cable and network programs. Her first book, "Objection!: How High-Priced Defense Attorneys, Celebrity Defendants, And A 24/7 Media Have Hijacked Our Criminal Justice System," was published in June 2005 and became a New York Times bestseller.

Grace's plan to become an English professor was derailed by the 1982 random murder of her fiance. The incident propelled her to enroll in law school and set her on the path to become a felony prosecutor and an outspoken victims' rights advocate. Grace worked in Atlanta Fulton County District Attorney's Office where she served for a decade as a special prosecutor of cases involving serial murder, rape, child molestation and arson. Grace also helped staff the hotline at an Atlanta Battered Women's Center for 10 years.

All presentations are free and open to the public.

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Contact: Linda Crossett, University Speakers Series, 812.237.8479
Mark Edwards, Marketing & Communications, 812.237.8512

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812.237.3783 or devmeyer@isugw.indstate.edu

ISU Communications & Marketing: 812.237.3773, http://isunews.indstate.edu

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CNN senior European coorespondent Jim Bittermann, novelist Amy Tan and CNN legal analyst Nancy Grace will speak in conjunction with the 2006-07 University Speakers Series.

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