Annual Meeting of UNESCO Cities of Literature coming April 3-6

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the UNESCO Cities of Literature will be held in Iowa City from April 3-6.

The meeting will gather representatives from most of the 28 Cities of Literature for a series of working meetings, discussions, tours and more.

In addition, representatives of the nine U.S. members of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network will meet for the first time to learn more about one another’s cities and to discuss potential collaborative projects.

John Kenyon, executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization, said the meeting is an opportunity to show literary leaders from around the world some of the many reasons why Iowa City holds the City of Literature designation.

“It’s one thing to hear it from me each time we meet,” Kenyon said. “The greater impact comes when our guests meet the writers, publishers, translators, librarians, administrators and others who contribute to the literary life of our community.”

Because the Cities of Literature sub-network will spend much of its time at the meeting integrating the eight new cities designated in late 2018, much of the representatives’ time in Iowa City will be spent in closed meetings at various spots in the community. However, one public session at Hancher Auditorium will offer members of the public the chance to meet and hear from some of the delegates from the other cities. As part of the auditorium’s “Thursdays at Hancher” program, City of Literature representatives will be in attendance and a panel discussion from 5:15-6 p.m. will allow the chance to hear about some innovative programs being done in other communities.

“With the Mission Creek Festival, the 2018 UWW Senior Men’s Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, our meeting and more going on at the same time, the first week of April will make Iowa City even more international and culturally vibrant than usual,” Kenyon said. “We hope people take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

The Reclamation Workshop: A Two-Day Cultural and Literary Intensive

The Englert is proud to announce The Reclamation Workshop: A Two-Day Cultural & Literary Intensive on our stage Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15.
This workshop is led by two writers born on opposite sides of the Atlantic—Kumasi, Ghana and Shreveport, Louisiana, respectively—whose pursuit of literary and artistic excellence led them to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, from which Derek Nnuro is a graduate and Tameka Cage Conley is in her final semester of study. Central to this workshop is the belief in the power of literature of the African Diaspora to embolden and empower, to enrich and sustain, and the ways that our personal histories, including triumph and challenges, inform our art.

Nnuro and Cage Conley will co-lead participants in a transformative literary program that includes study of Black fiction of the Diaspora and issues of identity and the self. The instructors will empower and encourage students to unlock, pursue, and write from the place of their unique voice and intellectual curiosity. The workshop will be a space of inclusion and will open with a translation experience by the instructors, and will include creative writing and open, supportive discussion. The event will culminate in a reading on Sunday.

This workshop is part of Englert Wavelength: Deeper Learning Through the Arts, the Englert’s arts education series featuring workshops and learning opportunities for youth and adults. More events will be announced soon.

Entry fee is $185 and includes admission on both days and lunch on SaturdayThis workshop is limited capacity. For more information, please click here

One Book Two Book winners selected

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization’s annual One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival will recognize the creative excellence of more than 80 area students over the course of the three-day festival, Feb. 23-25.

The festival begins Friday, Feb. 23, with the “Once Upon a Time” banquet. One student from each of 22 participating Iowa City-area elementary schools has been selected to read a piece of original writing at the dinner. These students, selected by ACT in Iowa City, are:

Entries for Poetry in Public 2018 now being accepted

It’s time once again for local writers to submit poems for consideration in the 16th annual Poetry in Public Program, sponsored by the Iowa City Public Art Program. Writers of all ages, levels of writing ability and experience, are encouraged to submit entries to the contest. 

A panel of local judges will review entries and then select poems that will be displayed throughout the community and on local and literary websites. The winning poems will be on display on Iowa City buses, at the Iowa City Public Library and the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center from May through the fall. Selected poets will also have the opportunity to read their poem during the Iowa Arts Festival in June. 

The program was initiated in 2002 to celebrate, promote and nurture the rich writing culture that exists in Iowa City.

For more information, the Submission Form and other details,  visit, call 319-356-5237 or e-mail


#GivingTuesday, 11/28/17

Six years ago, the brilliant team at 92Y conceptualized a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2016, over $177 million was raised online during #GivingTuesday to benefit a broad range of organizations. This year, on Nov. 28, we warmly invite you to show your support for the Iowa City of Literature, a registered nonprofit supporting the literary arts in Iowa City and around the world. We are proud to take part in #GivingTuesday!

Visit our SUPPORT page to make a donation. Contributions of any size will return right back to our community in the form of free, year-long programming for kids, adults, writers, readers, and creatives of all kinds.