Here in Iowa City, we're preparing for the 31st Iowa Summer Writing Festival. In these pages, you’ll find workshops in the novel, short story, flash fiction, fantastic fiction, writing the now, writing the weird, short poems, prose poems, confessional poems, deep revision, memoir, essay, writing about family, writing fakes and forgeries, writing beyond stereotypes, travel writing, screenwriting, playwriting, hybrid forms, and more. We’re breathless with excitement for our 31st Festival, which features 120 workshops that explore the genres in their reaches. In addition, this year we’re thrilled to embark on a collaboration with colleagues Robin Hemley and Xu Xi from Authors at Large on two international writing retreats: the first on Iceland’s north coast, and the second on the Gulf of Thailand.
Since 1987, the Festival has welcomed to the campus of The University of Iowa writers from 18 to 97 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 you, whether you arrive with the third draft of your novel, a message in a bottle, or merely a bee in your bonnet.
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 Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Playwrights Workshop, the International Writing Program, the Spanish Creative Writing Program, the Translation Workshop, the undergraduate Major in English and Creative Writing, The Certificate in Writing, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, The Iowa Youth Writing Project, 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. In recent years, 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.