The University of Iowa


Dear Writer,

Here in Iowa City, we are preparing for the 34th Iowa Summer Writing Festival. In these pages, you’ll find workshops in the novel, the short story, the essay, the memoir, short poems, love poems, prose poems, hybrid forms, writing the body, writing the family, writing queer, spiritual writing, playwriting, writing for young adults, writing picture books, writing humor, travel writing, and writing the places of the heart.

We’re breathless with excitement for our 34th Festival, which features 105 workshops that explore the genres in their reaches.

Since 1987, the Festival has welcomed to the campus of The University of Iowa writers from 18 to 98 years of age, from all 50 states, and from every continent. Most of us come to the workshop table from other areas of expertise, other lives. These include the armed forces, business, diplomacy, education, farming, homemaking, journalism, law, law enforcement, medicine, parenting, pastoral care, the performing arts, social services, and more. We come together across the genres, the generations, and at every level of literary practice in a common enterprise. We come as writers. This is the only assumption we make about each other, whether we arrive here with the third draft of our novel, a message in a bottle, or merely a bee in our bonnet.

This year the Festival joined the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing in The University of Iowa’s Division of Interdisciplinary Programs (housed in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences). As part of the Magid Center, we link arms with the Certificate in Writing, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, and the Iowa Youth Writing Project: a multi-generational, cross-disciplinary citizenry in love with the written word, from kindergartners to retirees. It's thrilling to find ourselves in such kindred company.

As a writing program, the Festival is proud to belong to Iowa City--a UNESCO City of Literature in the Creative Cities Network. Iowa City has long been a haven for writers, and The University of Iowa our ancestral home. The rich literary legacy that belongs to this place abides today in the Magid Center, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Playwrights Workshop, the International Writing Program, the Spanish Creative Writing Program, the Translation Workshop, the Carver College of Medicine’s Writing and Humanities Program, the undergraduate Major in English and Creative Writing, Between the Lines: The Writing Experience, the Irish Writing Program, the Iowa Center for the Book, The University of Iowa Press, The Iowa Review, and The Examined Life Journal. Some years ago, Iowa City dedicated the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, which celebrates in bronze relief panels some of the singular voices that have come together here, from Flannery O’Connor and Kurt Vonnegut to John Irving and James Tate. Everything here is closely observed--now, even the sidewalks.

The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is an opportunity for you to share your work in a community that wishes it well. It’s a long conversation we’ve been having in Iowa City.

We invite you to pull up a chair.

Amy Margolis' Signature

Amy Margolis