Robinson, Smiley Highlight 2014 Iowa City Book Festival Lineup

Two Pulitzer Prize winners will launch their new novels at the Iowa City Book Festival, Oct. 2-5, 2014.

Marilynne Robinson and Jane Smiley each will debut new work at the festival. Robinson unveils Lila at a free event on Friday, Oct. 3, at the Englert Theatre. Of the book, Publisher’s Weekly writes, “This third of three novels set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, is a masterpiece of prose in the service of the moral seriousness that distinguishes Robinson’s work.” A ticketed reception will be held before the event. More details will be available soon.

Smiley will read from Some Luck, her first return to writing about Iowa farm families since her Pulitzer-winning bestseller A Thousand Acres, at a special free afternoon event on Sunday, Oct. 5.

Those readings are among the highlights already on the schedule for the festival, now in its sixth year and the second under the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. Other confirmed authors include:

  • James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential and American Tabloid, whose forthcoming novel is Perfidia.
  • Mary Szybist, a poet whose latest collection, Incarnadine, won the 2013 National Book Award.
  • Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest and The Adjustment, whose new novel is Hop Alley.
  • Terrence Holt, a doctor and author whose debut collection was In the Valley of the Kings. His forthcoming book, Internal Medicine, offers stories from Holt’s medical residency.
  • Marlon James, author of the award-winning The Book of Night Women. His forthcoming novel is A Brief History of Seven Killings, an account of an assassination attempt against Bob Marley.
  • Jon McGoran, author of the ecological thrillers Drift and the forthcoming Dead Out.
  • Peyton Marshall, a University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate whose debut novel is the forthcoming Goodhouse.
  • Willy Vlautin, leader of the band Richmond Fontaine and author of several acclaimed novels that include the recent The Free.

Participants in the University of Iowa’s annual International Writing Program also will take part in the festival.

Also scheduled are film screenings, a Saturday outdoor book fair, music and more. Other highlights include a Saturday, Oct. 4 presentation by Reyna Grande, author of the memoir The Distance Between Us, the 2014 selection in the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights’ One Community One Book project, and a Sunday, Oct. 5 celebration of the 200th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s “Waverly” novels.