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A new Jane Smiley novel and the world's largest collection of nativity scenes

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe
"Between you and me, being a woman is a dangerous business, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise." — Mrs. Park
"A Dangerous Business" by Jane Smiley

Over the course of her career, author and former-Iowan Jane Smiley has produced a diverse body of work that includes satire, biographies, young adult fiction and more. Her new novel, A Dangerous Business, is difficult to categorize — though feminist western/mystery might be a good start. Smiley spoke with host Charity Nebbe about the new work.

Then, historian Michael Zahs, known for his involvement with the 2017 documentary Saving Brintonhas put his collection of 2,540 nativity scenes on display. This is the first and only time he intends to show this entire collection, which the public can tour for free now through the end of January at Hills Bank in Washington, Iowa.


  • Jane Smiley, author of A Dangerous Business
  • Michael Zahs, Washington County-based historian
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio