Oct. 08

Daydreams Comics In Store Signing with G. Willow Wilson

Come meet G. Willow Wilson! The writer behind Marvel Comics ground breaking series Ms Marvel, as well as A-Force, Mystic, Cairo, Air, Vixen & more, don't miss this unique opportunity to interact with one of the top writing talents in all of comics! She will be signing autographs (please limit yourself to 3-5 items to give everyone a chance, as she will only be here an hour) and happy to chat!
Sunday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m. at Daydreams Comics, 21 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

G. Willow Wilson A Superhero for Generation Why

G. Willow Wilson is a superhero who employs her literary powers to address pressing issues including religious intolerance and gender politics. In fiction, nonfiction, and comics, the American convert to Islam has distinguished herself as a writer of remarkable originality and insight. In her lecture, Wilson uses the challenges Ms. Marvel—a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager—faces as a parallel for the challenges of a misunderstood generation: the millennials. She’ll discuss the genesis of Ms. Marvel, her roots in the historical science fiction/fantasy tradition, and the significance of writing a superhero for a millennial (and wider) audience.

Wilson’s memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, which recounts her life in Egypt during the waning day of the Mubarak regime, is the 2017 selection for the One Community, One Book program sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.

This event is free and unticketed.

Additional support for Wilson’s lecture and residency has been provided by the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, International Writing Program, and Nonfiction Writing Program and also from Daydreams Comics. The Iowa City Book Festival is a program of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature Organization. The UI Center for Human Rights organizes the One Community, One Book program.

Sunday, Oct. 8, 2 p.m. at Hancher Auditorium, 141 East Park Road, Iowa City, IA 52242
Oct. 09

Reading: Tim Parks

with Tim Parks 

Tim Parks is Associate Professor of Literature and Translation at IULM University in Milan. He is the author of many novels, translations, and works of nonfiction, the latest being Life and Work: Writers, Readers, and the Conversations Between Them and the novel In Extremis.

7:00 p.m., Monday, Oct. 9 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

This reading is part of the 50th Anniversary of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP). The IWP is best known for the fall residency that brings writers from around the world to Iowa City. Since 1967, more than 1,400 writers from more than 150 countries have been in residence at the UI. The festival will feature readings by IWP guests at Prairie Lights Books on Monday, Oct. 9, and Tuesday, Oct. 10, as well as panel discussions among this year’s resident writers on Tuesday through Saturday.

Oct. 10

Public Reading: Moby Dick

This year’s read-aloud classic novel is Moby Dick, which will be read from the steps of the Old Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and Wednesday, Oct. 11, and from under the giant whale skeleton in Macbride Hall on Thursday, Oct. 12. Please sign up for a 20 minute reading slot at mobydickiowacity@gmail.com

IWP 50th Panel: World Literature Today

with Jeremy Tiang  , Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor  , Peter Nazareth  , Lorna Goodison  , Tim Parks  ,

Major international writers take on some contested issues around the idea of ‘a world literature’: Is globalization changing what and how we read? Does world lit spread on the back of “universal human values” – or is it propelled by marketing and the internet? What of the crushingly dominant role of English? What power does translation have? And, what literary writing is falling between the cracks, but shouldn’t?
12:00 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Pola Oloixarac and Alberto Fuguet

Pola Oloixarac is a fiction writer and essayist. Her novels, Savage Theories and Dark Constellations, have been translated into seven languages. Her writing has appeared in n+1The White ReviewThe New York Times, and Granta, which named her to its list of Best Young Spanish Novelists. She wrote the libretto for the opera Hercules in Mato Grosso, which debuted at Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colón and was staged at New York City’s Dixon Place. She lives in San Francisco, where she’s completing a PhD at Stanford University. Savage Theories is her first novel to appear in English.

Alberto Fuguet is a leading member of the Latin-American literary movement McOndo, which seeks to supplant magic-realist imaginings with urban, pop-inflected globalism. In this novel, Beltrán, a Chilean seismologist, uses a list of fifty favorite films to narrate his émigré childhood in California and his return to Santiago as a ten-year-old during the turmoil of the nineteen-seventies.

7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

This reading is part of the 50th Anniversary of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP). The IWP is best known for the fall residency that brings writers from around the world to Iowa City. Since 1967, more than 1,400 writers from more than 150 countries have been in residence at the UI. The festival will feature readings by IWP guests at Prairie Lights Books on Monday, Oct. 9, and Tuesday, Oct. 10, as well as panel discussions among this year’s resident writers on Tuesday through Saturday.

Oct. 11

Public Reading: Moby Dick

This year’s read-aloud classic novel is Moby Dick, which will be read from the steps of the Old Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and Wednesday, Oct. 11, and from under the giant whale skeleton in Macbride Hall on Thursday, Oct. 12. Please sign up for a 20 minute reading slot at mobydickiowacity@gmail.com

IWP 50th Panel: Fifty Years of Latin American Literature

with Luis Bravo  , Alberto Fuguet  , Pola Oloixarac  ,

Spanish-language writers from the Americas track the aesthetic, formal, thematic, and regional changes in the five decades since ‘El Boom’. Are the inheritances valued, or a burden?
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240


Join The Fail Safe and host Rachel Yoder as she talks with Engle Prize Winner Alexander Chee about how failure figures into his creative process.

The Fail Safe podcast explores how today’s most successful writers grapple with and learn from creative failure. From the blank page to the broken sentence, we examine the many challenges and pitfalls of the literary life and discover how authors transform false starts, dead ends, and assorted blunders into works of literary genius. Produced collaboratively by draft: the journal of process and The Iowa Writers’ House, The Fail Safe provides encouragement for anyone who’s ever wanted to write and pulls back the curtain on the creative process for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the writer-at-work.

3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Panel: Reading at Arm’s Length – Literature Across Borders

with Lisa Katz  , Hilary Kaplan  ,

How do we listen to literary voices that belong to cultures that are remote from us? A multi-ethnic writer from Turkey, an Israeli protest poet, or a radical innovator of language from Brazil? How does literature transport ‘difference’ across cultural borders, to readers who do not share the same cultural experiences that animate a given literary work? Questions like these often hound literary translators who are chiefly responsible for making literary works move across the globe without losing their authentic, consummate qualities. Please join us for a conversation-reading with award-winning translators Lisa Katz, and Hilary Kaplan, moderated by Aron Aji, Director of the Iowa Translation Workshop.
5:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA 52240

06:00 PM

Iowa Memorial Union, 2nd Floor Ballroom

International Writing Program 50th Anniversary Gala

On the occasion of IWP's 50th Anniversary, join us for an evening of literature, music, dance, and cuisine from around the world. For five decades, leading literary voices from almost 150 countries have come together each fall in Iowa City to compose new work, argue, collaborate on projects, translate, research, and present their ideas and creations to the public and to each other. Please join us as we commemorate our Golden Jubilee.

6 p.m. Reception | 7 p.m. Dinner - Dress: Semi-formal.

With readings and addresses by distinguished alumni, including: Ya Hsien (Taiwan, IWP '67), Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania, IWP '99), Bi Feiyu (China, IWP '06) and Lorna Goodison (Jamaica, IWP '83)
An original multi-lingual performance of a composition by Jean-François Charles with choreography by George De La Peña, inspired by Walt Whitman's verse.
Dishes from five continents and silent auction.

This event is a fundraiser: an estimated $75 from each individual ticket purchased is a tax-deductible donation.
Purchase tickets here. 

Holy Cow! Press Anniversary Reading

Celebrating 40 years of the Duluth-by-way-of-Iowa City independent press, featuring founder and publisher Jim Perlman, and authors Dan Campion, Crystal Spring Gibbins, and Gary Boelhower.
7:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

wellRED: From Dixie With Love​

Trae Crowder (The Liberal Redneck), Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester are stand-up comedy and writing partners. The trio has been touring nationally to sold out clubs and theatres in support of their best-selling book, Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin Dixie Outta the Dark.

This year’s tour, wellRED: From Dixie With Love, is about celebrating everything great about the South and telling stories from a place of love. It’s about dancing to country music at a gay wedding. It’s about loving your neighbor whether you have the same religion, skin color, or sexual preference, as long as they cheer for the same college football team (Go Vols!).  It is about leaving behind bigotry, but remembering the fried okra.

The “WellRED Comedy Tour” comes to the Englert in partnership with the Tuesday Agency.
Tickets at www.Englert.org.
7:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the Englert Theatre, 221 E Washington St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Oct. 12

Public Reading: Moby Dick

This year’s read-aloud classic novel is Moby Dick, which will be read from the steps of the Old Capitol on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and Wednesday, Oct. 11, and from under the giant whale skeleton in Macbride Hall on Thursday, Oct. 12. Please sign up for a 20 minute reading slot at mobydickiowacity@gmail.com

IWP 50th Panel: One Chinese Language, Many Chinese Literatures

with Ya Hsien  , Poon Yiu Ming  , Li Di An  , Jin Feng  , Dung Kai-cheung  , Bi Feiyu  ,

Thanks to the Engle legacy at the IWP, Iowa City has been the temporary home for some of today’s most beloved Chinese-language writers. A multi-generational group of novelists, poets and critics from both sides of the Taiwan Strait debates the forces pressing on contemporary Sinophone writing.
12:00 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 12 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240

IWP 50th Anniversary Poetry Reading: Luis Bravo and Anja Utler

Luis Bravo has published many works of poetry in book form and as multimedia, most recently Lichen (2014). Bravo, a 2012 International Writing Program participant, is a poet and performer, essayist, literary investigator, and professor. Highlights of his recent works include: Árbol Veloz, a book and CD ROM of Uruguayan poetry with the participation of 20 artists, Liquen and its multiphonic recital Tamudando together with Berta Pereira, Ale Tuana, Pollo Píriz (music), and Dana Pássaro (dance): “Acción/Huellas” (audio and text), “Croa” recorded live in theater, Lluvia, a collection organized by Mercedes Roffé; and Areñal: ene topos bilingüese & other sounds recorded with John Bennett. Bravo’s poems have been translated for anthologies and international journals in Portuguese, German, Estonian, French, Swedish, English, and Farsi.

Anja Utler was a 2014 IWP resident. Her poetry collection münden – entzüngeln won the coveted “Leonce-und-Lena-Preis” for Poetry in 2003. For her innovative poetic exploration of political issues such as ecology in her latest book ausgeübt. Eine Kurskorrektur, she was awarded with the “Basler Lyrikpreis” (Basel Poetry Prize) in 2014. In spring 2015, she was German Writer in Residence at Oberlin College, Ohio. Utler’s works explore the impact of different media and modes of perception on the experience of a text: her works brinnen (2006) and jana, vermacht (2009) were both published in print and audio formats; jana, vermacht was also transformed into an installation for an exhibition. Utler’s works have been translated into more than 20 languages.

4:00 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 12, at Shambaugh House, 430 N. Clinton St., Iowa City, IA 52245

Alexander Chee receives the Paul Engle Prize

Alexander Chee has been named the sixth recipient of the Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization.

The prize, established in 2011, honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.

Chee will receive the prize, which includes a one-of-a-kind work of art and $10,000, during a special ceremony as part of the Iowa City Book Festival on Oct. 12. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Coralville Public Library, and is free and open to the public. The event will include remarks by Chee and a conversation between Chee and Iowa City novelist Garth Greenwell.

The Paul Engle Prize is made possible through the generous support of the City of Coralville, which is home to 11 permanent sculptures with artistic and literary ties to Iowa.

Oct. 13

IWP 50th Panel: National Literatures in a Time of Rising Nationalisms

with Daniel Simon  , Anja Utler  , Sadek Mohammed  , Luljeta Lleshanaku  , Dung Kai-cheung  ,

During this era of the inward turn, with nation-states enthusiastically claiming a monolithic cultural and historical identity, the challenge falls on writers and readers alike to re-think what – and who – literature is for.  Should minority voices be challenging majority narratives? Is language flattened out when a nation yearns to speak in one voice? Is the old role of the writer as “a nation’s conscience” needed again? Or, might the sum of a nation’s social media posts be a new, more real “national literature”?
12:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240

#studioscrawls Opening Reception

#studioscrawls, a salon style exhibit of works on paper by Iowa City author/illustrator Michelle Edwards. On view by appointment.
5:30-8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13 at RAD, Upstairs Gallery, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Rafael Campo

Dr. Rafael Campo, keynote speaker for the University of Iowa’s The Examined Life Conference, will speak and read from his work.
7:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13 in the Old Capitol Senate Chambers, 21 N Clinton St, Iowa City, IA 52242
Oct. 14

Book Fair

Authors, literary journals, book sellers, presses, artists, and more will set up shop on the pedestrian mall in downtown Iowa City. All Day, Saturday, Oct. 14, at MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., next to the playground on the ped mall.

Reading: Jennifer Colville, Francesca Abbate and Jennifer Pritchard

Join Jennifer Colville, Francesca Abbate and Jennifer Pritchard for a reading and book launch for PromptPress. Prompt is an online and book arts journal for writing inspired by visual art and visual art inspired by writing. Francesca will read poems from Prompt’s newest issue alongside the projected visual responses of eight local artists. Jennifer Pritchard will read from Prompt’s first chapbook in the Gallery Series, a group of poems based on the visual art of Elizabeth Munger. Jennifer Colville will read an ekphrastic story from her new collection “Elegies for Uncanny Girls.”
10:00 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240  

Reading: Zachary Turpin, Ed Folsom and Christopher Merrill

No one laid eyes on it until 2016 when literary scholar Zachary Turpin followed a paper trail deep into the Library of Congress, where the sole surviving copy of Jack Engle has lain waiting for generations. Now, after more than 160 years, the University of Iowa Press is honored to reprint this lost work, restoring a missing piece of American literature by one of the world’s greatest authors, written as he verged on immortality.

Ed Folsom, Whitman Archive co-director, is the Carver Professor of English at The University of Iowa. Since 1983, he has served as Editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. He co-edited Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essay (2007).

Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Brilliant Water, and Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His latest book is a collaboration with Ed Folsom about Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”
10:00 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at Prairie Lights, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Ted Genoways, Kathryn Gamble & Barbara Hall

For forty years, Rick Hammond has raised cattle and crops on his wife’s fifth-generation farm. But as he prepares to hand off the operation to his daughter Meghan and her husband Kyle, their entire way of life is under siege. Confronted by rising corporate ownership, encroaching pipelines, groundwater depletion, climate change, and shifting trade policies, small farmers are often caught in the middle and fighting just to preserve their way of life. Following the Hammonds from harvest to harvest, Ted Genoway's This Blessed Earth is both a history of American agriculture and a portrait of one family’s struggle to hold on to their legacy.

Women and the Land, by Kathryn Gamble and Barbara Hall, takes a look at more than twenty-five women who are impacting Iowa’s farmland. Some of them have inherited rural property and are managing the agriculture practices from afar. Some are working the land directly, providing food to the heartland. Some are working in tandem with their husbands, fathers, sisters, daughters. Many of them grew up on a farm, left the land to get an education and left the state to follow their passions, only to find that their deepest passion is really the land, and have returned to it. Each of the women is affecting the land in her own unique and feminine way.
10:00 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA

10:00 AM

Iowa City Public Library, meeting room D

The Iowa Youth Writing Project presents: Play With Your Words!

Are you in love with letters? Do you wonder at words? Are you smitten with sentences? Come join the Iowa Youth Writing Project for an hour of imaginative writing, word games, and fun with language! We’ll provide you with supplies – all you need is a love of writing and sense of adventure! Click to register.
10:00 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, meeting room D

Deconstructing Picture Books with Sarah Prineas and Michelle Edwards

Goodnight moon. Goodnight room. Goodnight ... nobody? Michelle Edwards and Sarah Prineas invite you to join them at the downtown studio where they work. Together they are deconstructing picture books—like Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon—to see how they work, and taking what they learn to seek out new ways of making meaning.  They will talk about how they collaborate, how they understand the bones of story, how their process works, and they’ll share the story they wrote together.  This presentation will be of interest to anyone interested in story, process, and collaboration.
10:00 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at RAD, [UPSTAIRS] 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Panel: Publishing Now – Stories that Sell

with Inara Verzemnieks  , Julia Fierro  , Andrea Wilson  , Steve Semken  ,

A panel of writers, editors, and publishers comes together for a conversation on their current projects, trends in the publishing industry, and their insights into the process. Panelists bring viewpoints from varying geo-graphic regions, writing genres, and industry perspectives, in order to shine a light into the literary world and help emerging writers consider the paths to their own passion projects.
10:00 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Masonic Building, 312 College St. Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Loren W. Cooper and Larry Baker

Loren W. Cooper is the author of four novels, one short story collection and one nonfiction work. His first novel was nominated for the Endeavor award. He has won the NESFA in 1998 and the EPPIE for Best Anthology in 2001. His fourth novel, CrossTown, will hit bookstores November 14th. He is married with two daughters. He currently lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Favorite authors include Zelazny, Hammet, Steakley, and Catton. Loren Currently works for Hewlett-Packard as a Global Systems Engineering Manager.

Bobby Beaumont is a dying man with a secret. Her name is Ellie. In alternating chapters of From a Distance, Ellie tells her story. Her private life is juxtaposed with chapters telling the public history of Bobby Beaumont. Two different worlds. Those two versions of a shared experience will force a reader to decide which is fact, which is fiction. Larry Baker is an adjunct instructor of American History at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. He is the author of The Flamingo Rising (a Los Angeles Times “Top 100” book for 1997), Athens/America, A Good Man (nominated for “Book of the Year” by the Southeast Independent Booksellers Association), and Love and Other Delusions. He was included on the Iowa Literary Walk of Fame in 2010, and was twice elected to City Council in Iowa City.

10:00 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at FilmScene, 118 E College St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Panel: A Sense of Place

with Anne Kennedy  , Audrey Chin  , Jacquelyn Vincenta  , Will Bardenwerper  , Larry Baker  ,

Place and setting are key in many kinds of writing. How do you convey a sense of place or paint a unique landscape? In what ways does location contribute to your writing? Can a literary work truly be ‘universal,’ or will place always determine how a piece is understood?
11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Masonic Building, 312 College St. Iowa City, IA 52240

11:30 AM

Iowa City Public Library, meeting room D

Workshop: Booklet with Decorative Paper Covers

with Julie Russell-Steuart 

Are you always making lists? Do you need to carry a small notebook? Why not make your own? We will make a simple booklet with a decorative paper cover in this workshop. This structure needs no glue or even a ruler. Your booklet will have 24 pages, but the design allows for more, if you wish to try that at home later. Instruction handout provided. We will have a variety of handmade Lokta papers for the cover.

Sorry this workshop is full.
11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, meeting room D

Presentation: Daniel Wallace

From the Clone Wars and the Rebellion to the clashes with the First Order, the galaxy is defined by war. Star Wars: On the Front Lines chronicles the tactics, weapons, and armor used in pivotal battles along with acts of valor achieved during the campaign. By focusing on elements of the battles that occurred "off screen," this collection brings the struggles faced by ground soldiers and starfighter pilots to life like never before, placing the reader on the battlelines. With full-spread, classic illustrations that capture the sweeping scale of these historical battles, On the Front Lines brings a fresh look at the forces who fought on the front lines. Wallace will discuss his work, on this and other books that deal with Star Wars and other fictional worlds. Daniel Wallace is a comic book expert, sci-fi sage, and lifelong geek. Author or co-author of more than two dozen books including The Jedi Path, Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History, Iron Man Manual, Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, and the New York Times bestselling Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters, his specialty is exploring the underpinnings of popular fictional universes. 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at FilmScene, 118 E College St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Donald Ray Pollock

Donald Ray Pollock is an American writer. Born in 1954 and raised in Knockemstiff, Ohio, Pollock has lived his entire adult life in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he worked at the Mead Paper Mill as a laborer and truck driver until age 50, when he enrolled in the English program at Ohio State University. While there, Doubleday published his debut short story collection, Knockemstiff, and the New York Times regularly posted his election dispatches from southern Ohio throughout the 2008 campaign. The Devil All the Time, his first novel, was published in 2011. His work has appeared in various literary journals, including Epoch, Sou’wester, Granta, Third Coast, River Styx, The Journal, Boulevard, Tin House, and PEN America. His newest book is a novel called The Heavenly Table.
11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at Prairie Lights, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Manuel Vilas

Manuel Vilas, winner of the 2015 Letters of Aragon Award-, and X Llanes of Travelers Award, writes novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction; in addition he writes regularly for newspapers such El Pais, Grupo Bocento and in literary journals. Recent books include the non-fiction books América (2017) and Arde el sol sin tiempo (2014), the novels Lou Reed era español (2016), El luminoso regalo (2013), Los inmortales(2012), and the short stories Setecientos millones de rinocerontes (2015). During the Spring 2017 he was an Obermann Fellow Writer in Residence at the University of Iowa. His books had been translated to English, French, Turkish and Bulgarian.
11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Reading: Inara Verzemnieks

“It’s long been assumed of the region where my grandmother was born…that at some point each year the dead will come home,” Inara Verzemnieks writes in this exquisite story of war, exile, and reconnection. Her grandmother’s stories recalled one true home: the family farm left behind in Latvia, where, during WWII, her grandmother Livija and her grandmother’s sister, Ausma, were separated. They would not see each other again for more than 50 years. Raised by her grandparents in Washington State, Inara grew up among expatriates, scattering smuggled Latvian sand over the coffins of the dead, singing folk songs about a land she had never visited.

When Inara discovers the scarf Livija wore when she left home, in a box of her grandmother’s belongings, this tangible remnant of the past points the way back to the remote village where her family broke apart. There it is said the suspend their exile once a year for a pilgrimage through forests and fields to the homes they left behind. Coming to know Ausma and the trauma of her exile to Siberia under Stalin, Inara pieces together Livija’s survival through years as a refugee. Weaving these two parts of the family story together in spellbinding, lyrical prose, she gives us a profound and cathartic account of loss, survival, resilience, and love.

11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA

Panel: Writing as Recovery

with Xavier Villanova  , Antoinette Tidjani Alou  , Whitney Terrell  , Melissa Fraterrigo  , Mike Lankford  ,

Isn’t most writing, even experimental literature, fundamentally grounded in pain, trauma, loss? How does one write through such profound experiences, and does writing ultimately release this trauma?  What balance do you strike between comforting and unsettling the reader?
1:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Masonic Building, 312 College St. Iowa City, IA 52240

01:00 PM

Iowa City Public Library, meeting room D

Free Generative Writing Workshop: Shadow Box Writing

with Jennifer Colville 

Looking at visual art opens writers to new possibilities of form. In this workshop we’ll explore Joseph Cornell’s surreal shadow boxes, experiment with the juxtaposition of found objects and cut up images in order to create writing rich with startling metaphor. Writers in any genre are welcome.

Now in its fourth inspiring year, the Free Generative Writing Workshop is Iowa City's only monthly writing workshop that brings together adult writers of all levels to have their imaginations sparked by our area's most talented writers and teachers, at absolutely no cost. The goal is to create a supportive environment where participants can generate new writing and meet others interested in the same. Each month a different talented writer-teacher from our area will invite us to write from an original prompt -- and then compose along beside us as we explore where that prompt leads. After writing, we'll have the option to share what we've created and receive feedback.

Free, but space is limited. Click here to register. 

1:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 in the Iowa City Public Library, meeting room D

Reading: Julia Fierro

Julia Fierro is the author of the novels The Gypsy Moth Summer and Cutting Teeth. Her work has been published in Poets & Writers, Buzzfeed, GlamourThe Millions, Flavorwire, and other publications, and she has been profiled in Brooklyn Magazine, the L Magazine, The Observer and The Economist.

A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, she founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshopin 2002, which has grown into a creative home to 4,000 writers in NYC, Los Angeles, and Online. SSWW was named “Best Writing Classes” by The Village VoiceTime Out New York, and “Best MFA-Alternative” by Poets & Writers. Julia lives in Brooklyn and Santa Monica with writer Justin Feinstein and their two children.

1:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Reading: Jon Kerstetter

In Iraq, as a combat physician and officer, Jon Kerstetter balanced two impossibly conflicting imperatives–to heal and to kill. When he suffered an injury and then a stroke during his third tour, he wound up back home in Iowa, no longer able to be either a doctor or a soldier. In this gorgeous memoir that moves from his impoverished upbringing on an Oneida reservation, to his harrowing stints as a volunteer medic in Kosovo and Bosnia, through the madness of Iraq and his intense mandate to assemble a team to identify the remains of Uday and Qusay Hussein, and the struggle afterward to come to terms with a life irrevocably changed, Kerstetter beautifully illuminates war and survival, the fragility of the human body, and the strength of will that lies within.
1:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at Prairie Lights, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Nathan Englander with Chris Adrian

A prisoner in a secret cell. The guard who has watched over him a dozen years. An American waitress in Paris. A young Palestinian man in Berlin who strikes up an odd friendship with a wealthy Canadian businessman. And The General, Israel’s most controversial leader, who lies dying in a hospital, the only man who knows of the prisoner’s existence. From these vastly different lives Nathan Englander has woven a powerful, intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, even as the lives of its citizens become fatefully and inextricably entwined–a political thriller of the highest order that interrogates the anguished, violent division between Israelis and Palestinians, and dramatizes the immense moral ambiguities haunting both sides. Who is right, who is wrong–who is the guard, who is truly the prisoner? A tour de force from one of America’s most acclaimed voices in contemporary fiction.

Chris Adrian is the author of the novels Gob’s Grief, The Children’s Hospital, and The Great Night, and the story collection, A Better Angel. He is co-author of the novel, The New World, with Eli Horowitz. His work has been featured in publications such as The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Best American Short Stories, and McSweeney’s. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, and inclusion in The New Yorker’s 2010 “20 under 40” Fiction Issue.
1:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA

Panel: Who Do You Read?

with Kaori Fujino  , Lori Erickson  , Donald Ray Pollock  ,

What authors do you love to read, in your own or other literatures? Has one writer or one particular text been the igniting experience that opened up the path of writing for you? 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Masonic Building, 312 College St. Iowa City, IA 52240

Demonstration: Calligraphic Handwriting and Stone Lettering

The the Art Legacy League presents Jade Novarino, an interdisciplinary artist, practicing calligrapher, and mail-artist who makes paintings, video works, books, and objects. Her work lives between contexts, somewhere within the art world and the quotidian/everyday. Jade runs and facilitates Conduit, a project space and artist residency in Portland, Oregon.www.ccoonndduuiitt.art.
2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting room D, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Whitney Terrell

Whitney Terrell’s novel, The Good Lieutenant (FSG), was selected as a best book of 2016 by The Washington PostThe Boston Globe, and Refinery 29. It was long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. He is also the author of The Huntsman (Viking), a New York Times notable book in 2001, and The King of Kings County (Viking), which was selected as a best book of 2005 by the Christian Science Monitor. He is currently an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he teaches Creative Writing. He has also taught fiction at Princeton University and was the Hodder Fellow for 2008-2009.
2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Reading: Mike Lankford and Steve Paul

In a book unlike anything ever written about the Renaissance genius, Mike Lankford explodes every cliché about Leonardo da Vinci and then reconstructs him based on a rich trove of available evidence — bringing to life for the modern reader the man who has been studied by scholars for centuries, yet has remained as mysterious as ever. Mike Lankford is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and the author of Life in Double Time: Confessions of an American Drummer, a memoir about his years as a white drummer in a black R&B band. The book was an Amazon editor’s pick, and was selected by eight major newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Austin Chronicle, as the best music book of the year.

Steve Paul has been a writer and editor based in Kansas City for more than four decades. His long newspaper career ran a gamut from local news and politics, to long-form features on culture, crime and food, to extended stints as book review editor, architecture writer, and editorial page editor. He retired in 2016 in order to focus on books, other writing projects, photography and more. He’s the editor of Kansas City Noir, an anthology of contemporary short fiction (Akashic Books); co-editor of War + Ink: New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and Writings(Kent State University Press); and in October 2017 his book Hemingway at Eighteen: The Pivotal Year That Launched an American Legend will be published by Chicago Review Press.

2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA

Reading: Will Bardenwerper

Will Bardenwerper is an American writer specializing in narrative nonfiction. He is the author of The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid, which was published by Scribner in June, 2017.

Woven from first-hand accounts provided by many of the American guards, government officials, interrogators, scholars, spies, lawyers, family members, and victims, The Prisoner in His Palace shows two Saddams coexisting in one person: the defiant tyrant who uses torture and murder as tools, and a shrewd but contemplative prisoner who exhibits surprising affection, dignity, and courage in the face of looming death.

In this artfully constructed narrative, Saddam, the “man without a conscience,” gets many of those around him to examine theirs. Wonderfully thought-provoking, The Prisoner in His Palace reveals what it is like to discover in one’s ruthless enemy a man, and then deliver him to the gallows.

2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at Prairie Lights, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Panel: Politics

with Okky Madasari  , Ramsha Ashraf  , Loren W. Cooper  , Nathan Englander  ,

Writers discuss how their current political landscape affects their work. 4:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at the  Iowa City Masonic Building, 312 College St. Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Lori Erickson

From her childhood on an Iowa farm, Lori Erickson grew up to travel the world as a writer specializing in holy sites–journeys that led her on an ever-deepening spiritual quest. In Holy Rover, she weaves her personal narrative with descriptions of a dozen pilgrimages.

Her trips give Erickson the chance to reflect on her Lutheran upbringing, her flirtation with Wicca, and her admiration for Tibetan Buddhism. A trip to the healing shrine of Lourdes is intertwined with the story of her son’s serious illness as a baby, while visiting Thoreau’s Walden Pond blends with ruminations on being a writer.

Along the way, Erickson encounters spiritual leaders who include the chief priest of the Icelandic pagan religion of Asatru, a Trappist monk at Thomas Merton’s Gethsemani Abbey, and a Lakota retreat director at South Dakota’s Bear Butte.

Both irreverent and devout, Holy Rover includes images of holy sites around the world taken by several of the nation’s leading travel photographers.

4:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at Prairie Lights, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240


Reading: Jon K. Lauck

Jon K. Lauck is the author of several books, including American Agriculture and the Problem of Monopoly: The Political Economy of Grain Belt Farming, 1953-1980 (University of Nebraska Press, 2000), Daschle v. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race (University of Oklahoma Press, 2007), Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010), and The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History (University of Iowa Press, 2013). Lauck’s newest book is From Warm Center to Ragged Edge: The Erosion of Midwestern Regionalism, 1920-1965 (University of Iowa Press, 2017). He is currently serving as an adjunct professor of history and political science at the University of South Dakota, as the Associate Editor and Book Review Editor of Middle West Review, as the series editor of Studies in Midwestern History, and as host of the “Heartland History” podcast. He is the immediate past-president of the Midwestern History Association.
4:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA

Reading: Melissa Fraterrigo and Jacquelyn Vincenta

Melissa Fraterrigo is the author of the forthcoming novel Glory Days (University of Nebraska Press, fall 2017) and the short story collection The Longest Pregnancy. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in more than forty literary journals and anthologies from Shenandoah and The Massachusetts Review to storySouth, and Notre Dame Review. She has been a finalist for awards from Glimmer Train on multiple occasions, twice nominated for Pushcart Awards, and was the winner of the Sam Adams/Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction Contest. She teaches classes on the art and craft of writing at the Lafayette Writers’ Studio in Lafayette, Indiana.


Local romance author Lydia Carroll only knows one version of the MSW story: her husband’s. English professor Frank Carroll has been fixated on the mystery of her disappearance for years, crafting a narrative based on Mary’s poetry and journals that insist that Mary lived past that night in 1939. As Frank’s behavior grows more erratic, Lydia sees that his interest in Mary has evolved into an obsession―one that threatens to destroy the family they have built together. Lydia throws herself into the mystery, hoping to solve it and bring peace back to her home. But as Lydia begins investigating, her son takes action with a plan of his own…one that will bring the family to a breaking point and change Lydia’s destiny forever.

Jacquelyn Vincenta has been writing since she was a child. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English Literature with Honors in Creative Writing, and has made language the center of her career ever since then. Vincenta’s first paid writing job was as a police beat reporter for the Slidell (Louisiana) Daily News, and her current non-fiction job is as blog writer and copywriter for the Prague-based translation company Skrivanek (you can find my articles related to languages and translation at Skrivanek.com). Vincenta’s deepest passion is the natural world, so the presence of her world — Michigan and its waters — has a powerful influence on the stories she immerse herself in. Vincenta writes fiction from her home in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and other borrowed desks when she is on the road.

4:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Oct. 15

Reading: Joe Kyugen Michaud

with Joe Kyugen Michaud 

Joe Kyugen Michaud will read from his latest book Prairie Wind. Nature Poems with a Zen Flavor. This will be for the first half of the reading. For the second half he will read Zen wisdom tales in verse selected from his first two books of Zen poetry. Joe’s books will be on sale, a percentage of the proceeds will go to the Zen Center.
10:00 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at Iowa City Zen Center, 1025 Fairchild St, Iowa City, IA 52245

City of Literature Historical Walking Tour

427 UNESCO (No Overlap 1)Join us on a walking tour of the City of Literature! We'll be setting out from the Iowa Writers' House as we view the historic literary sites of Iowa City's Northside including the houses where famous writers like Flannery O'Connor, Kurt Vonnegut, and Tennessee Williams lived and wrote. We'll see all the local writer haunts, including the bar Hunter S Thompson was rumored to be thrown out of!

This free event is sponsored by Deirdre Castle, Realtor at Blank & McCune and organized by the City of Literature and the Iowa Writers' House. The IWH is a community literary organization providing workshops, residencies and resources to writers.  You can find more info on their website: http://www.iowawritershouse.org/

11-noon, Sunday, Oct. 15. Meet at the Iowa Writers' House, 332 E. Davenport St., at 11 a.m. The tour will end at The Haunted Bookshop219 N Gilbert St., approximately one hour later.

Rescue Press + Response Handwriting Project

Join Rescue Press and the Response Handwriting Project for poetry and mimosas. Featuring James GalvinElizabeth Willis, and D.A. Powell.

11:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at RSVP, 140 North Linn Street, Iowa City, IA 52245

Reading: Roger Hileman

In 1886, school teacher Mariel Erickson leaves the civilized comforts of Chicago for a small Dakota prairie town, but she’s unprepared for the hardships she encounters. As if battling unruly children, harsh weather, destitute Indians, and shady frontier politics weren’t enough, she soon finds herself embroiled in the town’s first murder case.

Roger Hileman divides his time between his two passions, writing and music. But with either, telling a story is the key. Roger prefers weaving tales with engrossing and inspiring landscapes. In Hammon Falls and A Killing Snow, novels coauthored with Dave Hoing, music plays a large role. Not only do singers, pianists, and fiddle players make repeated appearances, the authors weave musicality into the tale itself, employing lyrical dialogue and a well-cadenced story.

12 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240  

Point of View: The Key To Unique Storytelling A Writing Workshop With Julia Fierro at the Iowa Writers’ House

with Julia Fierro 

Sunday October 15th 1-4pm Location: 332 East Davenport Street, Iowa City
Cost: $65 (Open to the first 14 registrants)

Register at www.iowawritershouse.org

Join bestselling author and writing teacher Julia Fierro in a special workshop event in partnership with the Iowa Writers' House. Fierro is the Director of the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop in Brooklyn and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She returns to Iowa City to read from her new novel, The Gypsy Moth Summer, and will offer this one-time craft workshop, open to the first 14 registrants.

Workshop Description: Our writing instructors tell us again and again to “get closer” to our characters. We nod in agreement, all the while asking ourselves, but how do I get closer? And what does getting closer mean? There is nothing more frustrating than, after writing many pages, realizing you still don’t truly know your leading guy and/or gal.

We are all close to someone—usually many someones—and this makes us natural character experts. We spend much of our time analyzing our loved ones, our neighbors and co-workers (even the strangers sitting across from us on the bus), interpreting gestures, expressions, appearance, dialogue, and tone. We have all imagined the thoughts that pass through the minds of our lovers and friends and enemies; the celebrities we will never meet in person but who we feel already acquainted with thanks to the power of our interpretation and imagination. Writers can use this innate curiosity to create characters so complex they are impossible to be dismissed—characters worthy of the reader’s sympathy and investment.

Like their creators, our characters are capable of curiosity, and their eyes, focused on the right detail and filtered through the right lens, will unveil meaning in the same the way a camera does as it pans in on a subject in a film. In this craft class, writers will practice close reading of both published work and student work, focussing on consistent point-of-view technique as the foundation on which successful structure, character and language are built.

01:00 PM

RAD Inc., 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City

Cities of Literature reading

Iowa City is one of 20 UNESCO-designated Cities of Literature in the world. Writers from some of the other 19 Cities of Literature around the world, including Julienne Van Loon, Melbourne; Sadek Mohammed, Baghdad; Alice Gribbin, Nottingham; and Luis Munoz, Granada, will read.

Story Bones Workshop

In a collaborative studio environment, explore a new way of seeing and developing story. With paints, brushes, a roll of paper, and an awareness of how process is related to the materials we work with, we will deconstruct a picture book and use what we learn to write a new story.  Not just for children's writers: all who work creatively are welcome.  High school and up. Free, but space is limited to 12 participants.
Click here to register.
1:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

READING ALOUD: Political poems

Reading Aloud, the Senior Center-based poetry-reading group, will present a program of political poems as part of the Book Festival. The poems deal with many political issues – censorship, war, slavery – with particular focus on the plight and dreams of immigrants. The readers are Michael Chan, Jim Curry, Jonni Ellsworth, Chuck Felling, Mary Gutmann, Ina Loewenberg, Nancy Lynch, Cari Malone, Kathy Mitchell, Betty Norbeck and Jim Piper.
2:00 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at RAD, 123 E. Washington St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Reading: Frances Cannon and John Ira Thomas

Frances Cannon is a writer and artist of hybrid mediums. She has an MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, and a BFA in poetry and printmaking from the University of Vermont. She has a book of poems and illustrations, Tropicalia, through Vagabond Press, and a book of poems and prints, Uranian Fruit, through Honeybee Press. Her latest release is The Highs & Lows of Shapeshift Ma and Big-Little Frank (2017).
John Ira Thomas is the author of over twenty books, including the award-winning graphic novel MAN IS VOX: Barracudae (2015 Indiefab Silver Medal in Graphic Novels) from Candle Light Press. He has two Master’s Degrees, stoops a bit, and his newest book is MAN IS VOX: Paingels (Expanded Edition), the original edition of which Booklist said “recalls nothing more than the early surrealist film masterpieces Dalí and Buñuel’s Un chien Andalou and Cocteau’s Le Sang d’un poete.”
2:00 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at Daydreams Comics, 21 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA 52240

03:30 PM

The Mill, 120 E. Burlington St, Iowa City

Hot Tin Roof reading

hot-tin-roofHot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids metro area. Each month, a selected piece under 1,000 words is published in Little Village, and the author receives a $100 honorarium. Hot Tin Roof writers past and present will gather to read from their work.
The series takes its name from a famous play and movie by former Iowa City resident Tennessee Williams, who graduated from the University of Iowa in 1938. He was chosen as the patron saint of this series because his artistic life refused to be confined to work in any one genre. Moreover, it seemed right, given the many acclaimed writers to have lived and worked in Iowa City, to honor one who, at the time, was a relatively obscure undergraduate.
3:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at The Mill, 120 E Burlington St, Iowa City, IA 52240

The Roast of Iowa City

An annual event where we invite members of our community to take their most humorous stab at puncturing the inflated ego of our fair city. Join us as selected roasters gather on stage to gently and not-so-gently poke fun at Iowa City. Hosted by Jessica Misra and Mike Lucas.
5:00 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at The Mill, 120 E Burlington St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Reading: Kenneth Whyte

with Kenneth Whyte 

The definitive biography of Herbert Hoover, one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century–a revisionist account that will forever change the way Americans understand the man, his presidency, and his battle against the Great Depression. A poor orphan who built a fortune, a great humanitarian, a president elected in a landslide and then routed in the next election, arguably the father of both New Deal liberalism and modern conservatism–Herbert Hoover is also one of our least understood presidents, conventionally seen only as a heartless failure for his handling of the Great Depression.
5:00 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240