Literature in Iowa City

City of Literature Film

The oldest creative writing program in the country, and still regarded the best. More than forty Pulitzer Prize winners. North America’s only UNESCO City of Literature. How did the midwestern college town of Iowa City, Iowa become the capital of creative writing in America? Check out the City of Literature documentary to find out.

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Iowa City Literary Guide by Jan Weissmiller
Jan Weissmiller, co-owner of Prairie Lights Books, has authored a loving paean to our local literary scene published in the online arm of Poets and Writers. In “Iowa City, Weissmiller recounts coming to town in the late ’70s, unaware of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the city’s deep literary heritage that has drawn writers here for decades:

The town’s literary history was astounding, but the world of academic creative writing outside of it was still small, and an uninformed youth such as myself could still exit the interstate, sixty-five miles west of the Mississippi River, having heard nothing of its history.

She goes on to chronicle the explosive growth of Iowa City’s literary scene and detail the many writing classes, conferences, festivals and readings that are offered around town:

As the [writing] program has expanded, so too has the city’s literary offerings, bringing writers from all over to Iowa City throughout the year. The population, as it was in 1977, is still less than one hundred thousand, but the percentage of writers visiting the city has increased exponentially, mainly due to the influx of those attending the several annual festivals that take place.

Iowa City” is an exhaustive guide to our City of Literature.