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Summer in Iowa City

The Festival encourages you to meet and get to know members of other workshops and experience the energy and ambiance of summer in Iowa City. Festival writers enjoy getting together in the mornings for coffee and conversation, and gatherings are planned throughout the week (see "Typical Weeklong and Weekend Schedules").

You’ll want to take time to lose yourself in Iowa City’s many bookstores and literary haunts, to dally on the bank of the Iowa River, and to enjoy theater, film, and music downtown. Readings by outstanding contemporary voices, hosted by Prairie Lights bookstore, are a favorite among locals and Festival participants alike.

We post announcements of coming events continually throughout the summer here and on the Iowa Summer Writing Festival Facebook page.

Getting Here

Iowa City is easily accessible. If you are driving, you will find us just south of Interstate 80. The Eastern Iowa Regional Airport (CID) is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about twenty miles north of Iowa City. Shuttle service is available from the airport. The Quad City International Airport (MLI) is located in Moline, Illinois, approximately 65 miles from Iowa City. Though not as close as the airport in Cedar Rapids, flights into Moline can be a value. Greyhound Bus service is available between Moline and Iowa City.

There is bus service to Iowa City but no train service.

The Eleventh Hour Lecture Series

The Eleventh Hour Series is comprised of hour-long presentations at 11:00 a.m. each weekday of the Festival. The series features issues of special interest to writers, including aspects of craft, process, the writing life, and publishing. Past topics have included “Talking It Out: Writing As Conversation,” “Creative Nonfiction for the Visual Learner,” and “How Poets See the World: The Art of Description.”

The Eleventh Hour features a different presenter each day; specific descriptions are posted on our website in spring. Fridays in The Eleventh Hour are reserved for a Festival faculty reading. The Eleventh Hour is free and open to the public as well as Festival participants.

To listen to podcasts of past lectures, visit The Writing University at

Typical Weeklong and Weekend Schedules

Weeklong Sessions

Weeklong workshops begin Sunday evening with a light dinner, orientation, and the first class meeting. For the rest of the week, workshops meet each afternoon, Monday through Friday, from 2:00-5:00. Mornings are reserved for The Eleventh Hour Series, and for writing, revising, and annotating manuscripts in preparation for your workshop. Your conference with your instructor may be scheduled in this time, too.

Sunday Evening

6:30–7:30 p.m.  Registration and light dinner

7:30 p.m.  Large-group orientation and welcome

8:00 p.m.  First class meeting


7:30–11:00 a.m.  Coffee and conversation downtown. Time to write, read, critique manuscripts

11:00 a.m.  The Eleventh Hour Series. Presentations on topics of interest to writers

2:00–5:00 p.m.  Individual groups in workshop session

Weeklong sessions include the following events:


5:30 p.m.  Festival reception at Prairie Lights Books


7:00 p.m.  Open Mike: readings by participants


6:00 p.m.  All-Festival dinner


Weekend Sessions


8:30–9:30 a.m.  Registration and light breakfast

9:30 a.m.  Large-group orientation and welcome

10:00 a.m.  Meet in individual workshops

Noon–2:00 p.m.  Lunch on your own; read, write, critique manuscripts

2:00–4:00 p.m.  Meet in individual workshops

Break for dinner on your own

7:00 p.m.  Open Mike: Readings by participants


9:00-11:00 a.m.  Meet in individual workshops

11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  Lunch on your own; read, write, critique manuscripts

1:00–3:00 p.m.  Meet in individual workshops


Note: It is possible to take a weeklong and weekend workshop in succession, and participants routinely do so. They do not overlap.