One Book Two Book student writing 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 150 area students over the course of the three-day festival, Feb. 26-28.

The festival begins Friday, Feb. 26, 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. The dinner is sponsored by Terry Lockridge  & Dunn/WorldTrend Financial. These students, selected by Pearson in Iowa City, are:

Student, school, grade

Malia Snyder Alexander 4
Sarah Bunyan Borlaug 6
Francis Mwanda Central 5
Keira McKnight Garner 4
Mesarah Hnesh Hills 6
Ella Sherlock Hoover 5
Leila Afifi Horn 6
Jaden Green Kirkwood 6
Darren Randall Lemme 5
Heidi Du Lincoln 5
Jocelyn Harte Longfellow 6
Kale Clark Lucas 6
Greta Stanier Mann 5
Michelle Babcock Penn 4
Natalie Franklin Regina 6
Eleanor Ziehr Shimek 3
Ivy Aijala-Wardell Twain 6
Adam Schultz Van Allen 4
Lydia Evans Weber 2
Raina Pfeifer Wickham 6
Lochlan Krupa Willowwind 6
Tyler Daniels Wood 6

The festival’s final day, Sunday, Feb. 28, features the annual “Write Out Loud!” event, 1-3 p.m. in the auditorium in the University of Iowa’s Macbride Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Students in Corridor districts were encouraged to submit one page of original writing. More than 800 students answered the call. Those submissions were evaluated by a team at Pearson in Iowa City, and the best of these were singled out for recognition.

In each grade, first through eighth, winners were selected in two categories. They are:

  • The Write Stuff, which is judged based on language, clarity, structure, and emotional impact.
  • From the Heart, judged based on creativity, passion, and expressiveness.

These winning students are:

Grade, “The Write Stuff” Winner, school
1 Zaid Aldoss, Van Allen
2 Praneel Rastogi, Wickham
3 Mason Johnson, Lincoln
4 Ginger McCartney, Willowwind
5 Abby McNeely, Garner
6 Kiva Meeks-Mosley, Wood
7 Badra Kalil, Northwest
8 Lila Terry, North Central

Grade “From the Heart” Winner, school
1 Charvi Deorah, Lincoln
2 Hazen Addis, Lincoln
3 Ava Bruxvoort, Wickham
4 Livian LaVine, Lincoln
5 Deborah Turner, Twain
6 Katie Tippet, Penn
7 Fareeha Ahmad, North Central
8 Ingrid Gingerich, Heritage Christian School

In addition, the Pearson team identified students in each grade whose writing was deemed worthy of honorable mention, roughly the top 10 percent of submissions. These 121 students will be recognized as part of the Feb. 28 event, which is free and open to the public. The students are (school/name/grade):

Borlaug Shanza Sami 2
Borlaug Landon Waddilove 2
Borlaug Richard Yang 3
Borlaug Nya Bunyan 3
Borlaug Cindy Wang 4
Borlaug Andreas Warren 4
Coralville Central Ella Scott 5
Garner Layla Langseth 2
Garner Liv Slaughter 2
Garner Savannah Page 2
Garner Lillian Steffens 3
Garner Ivy Reske 3
Garner Anna Prieskorn 4
Garner Olivia See 4
Garner Tye Miller 5
Garner Krista Olson 5
Garner Christian Melessa 5
Heritage Christian School Malinee Mezhir 3
Hills Tamiah Teran 5
Hoover Xuan Liu 3
Hoover Ruth Meehan 6
Horn Aidan O’Leary 1
Horn Henry Lu 3
Horn Katy Ham 4
Kirkwood Warren Faga 4
Kirkwood Jeremy Myers 4
Kirkwood Charlotte Windmill 5
Lemme Kenzie Randall 3
Lemme Tate Williams 4
Lemme Hakim Issan 5
Lincoln Izzy Brown 1
Lincoln Lillian Rantanen 2
Lincoln Adelaide Newton 2
Lincoln Anisa Kalil 2
Lincoln Emily Phillips 3
Lincoln Anna Song 3
Lincoln Avery Provorse 4
Lincoln Sigrid Rossi 4
Lincoln Sadie Wallace 4
Lincoln Lucia Allgood 4
Lincoln Ava Rose Turek 4
Lincoln Estella Newton 6
Longfellow Claire Locher 2
Longfellow Lydia Pritchard 4
Longfellow Fiona Arnold 4
Longfellow Jackson Chard-Cuda 4
Longfellow Eliza Woodard 4
Longfellow Ben Platte 4
Longfellow Luke Locher 4
Longfellow Ferguson Ward 6
Longfellow Maria Volkman 6
Longfellow Sullivan Hall 6
Longfellow L’Engle Charis-Carlson 6
Lucas Ellie Galloway 3
Lucas Colin Ruan 3
Lucas Lila Tallman 4
Lucas Emily Ortiz 4
Lucas Katy Harmsen 4
Lucas Saige Dickerson 6
Mann Conner Stanton 2
Mann Erin Partridge 4
Mann Iris Williams 4
North Central JH Kayla Wright 7
North Central JH Natalie Kaiser 7
North Central JH Henry Krain 8
North Central JH Courtney Olson 8
Northwest JH Alexandra Carlon 7
Northwest JH Uriel Campos-Padilla 7
Northwest JH Divya Shyamal 7
Northwest JH Brady Gromacki 7
Northwest JH Reece Yang 7
Northwest JH Natalie Young 8
Northwest JH Maia DeGrazia 8
Northwest JH Emir Abdagic 8
Penn Adeline Goeken 3
Penn Molly Krogh 3
Penn Mia Edlemon 3
Penn Karsten Triggs 3
Penn Kate Dominy 4
Penn Gabe Clark 4
Penn Finn Benest 4
Penn Cole Kerns 4
Penn Adrianna Dunlevy 4
Penn Bennett Tauke 4
Penn Aiden Gillespie 4
Penn Sarah Waul 6
Penn Aidan Stoddard 6
Penn Tyler Moores 6
Penn Ethan Keeney 6
Prairie Creek Sage Slessor 5
Regina Lily Nibaur 1
Regina Grace Gavin 4
Regina Sara Comer 4
Regina Victoria Aragon 6
Shimek James Meggitt 4
Shimek Anna Mattson 5
Southeast JH Alexandra Poremba 7
Southeast JH Reese Hill 8
St. Matthew Frances DeBoom 4
St. Matthew Tom Giorgio 5
Twain Owen Ruth 3
Twain Riona Ayers 3
Twain Timothy Cline 4
Van Allen Jaelyn Perry 3
Van Allen Cori Mac 4
Van Allen Marrin Zwanziger 4
Weber Asher Overholt 5
Weber Caroline Mascardo 6
Weber Zoe Nolte 6
Weber Isaac Fletcher 6
Wickham Austin Ji 1
Wickham Caroline Vander Weg 2
Wickham Anjali Lodh 3
Wickham Vera Tanas 3
Wickham Elisabeth Bird 5
Willowwind Ella Pressler 1
Willowwind Mira Cunning 2
Willowwind Kaden Huntley 3
Willowwind Rayne Foley 4
Willowwind Ankur Karandikar 4
Willowwind Rosie Terry 4


Worldwide read in support of Ashraf Fayadh set for Jan. 14

Each year the International Literature Festival Berlin sponsors one or several Worldwide Readings when urgent challenges to justice and freedom arise. The 2016 reading will draw attention to the imprisonment and imminent threat of death penalty to the Saudi Arabia-based Palestinian poet and curator Ashraf Fayadh.

On Jan. 14, 2016, the International Writing Program, UI Center for Human Rights, and the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature will  join many other literary organizations and writers worldwide, to read from Fayadh’s work, and to call on the Saudi authorities to improve the country’s human rights standards.

The event is free and open to the public from noon to 12:30 p.m. at the Shambaugh House, 430 N. Clinton St., Iowa City.

A comment on this situation by IWP 2015 Saudi alum Raed Al-Jishi can be found at the IWP blog.


Poetry in Public accepting submissions for 2016

Now in its 14th year, Iowa City’s Poetry in Public project is accepting poetry submissions from writers of all ages. Published and unpublished poets in Johnson County are invited to submit their poems for consideration. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016.

Rules for submission include:

  • You must be a resident of Johnson County, Iowa to have your work considered.
  • Only one poem per author will be considered.
  • The poem can be no more than seven lines (not including the title) and can be either an existing or new work.
  • Poems are generally published as is; therefore, we ask that teachers and/or parents work with students on proper spelling and punctuation before submission.
  • An excerpt from a longer poem will be considered if it can stand alone.
  • Poems will be judged on quality of writing as well as accessibility and suitability for public display before a general audience.
  • Special complex formatting of submitted poems should be avoided, particularly “Word Art” type word/graphics and words/letters that are diagrammed as pictures.
  • If reprint permissions are required, please get permission prior to submitting your work.
  • Submissions for the 2016 program are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016.
  • Copies of submitted poems will not be returned.

All poetry submissions will be judged by an independent panel of writing professionals, librarians and the general public. Writers whose poems are chosen for display will be notified in early March. While there is no honorarium offered, each writer whose work is displayed will receive a copy of the poster featuring his/her poem.

The Poetry in Public project reserves the right to refuse poems that are too long or could be seen as unsuitable for public display.

For more information contact Marcia Bollinger, Iowa City Public Art Program, at 319-356-5237 or

47 new cities named to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network


Nine new Cities of Literature, 3 new U.S. cities overall

UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network took a big leap in size today as Director-General Irina Bokova names 47 cities from 33 countries as new members of the network. It was the most significant growth in the network’s 11-year history, and brings the number of designated cities to 116.

Of the new cities, nine earned the City of Literature designation, bringing that sub-network to 20 members. In addition, three new U.S. cities were named to the network, bringing the U.S. delegation to six cities.

The new Cities of Literature are Baghdad, Iraq; Barcelona, Spain; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Lviv, Ukraine; Montevideo, Uruguay; Nottingham, United Kingdom; Obidos, Portugal; Tartu, Estonia; and Ulyanovsk, Russia. They join Edinburgh, Scotland; Melbourne, Australia; Iowa City; Dublin, Ireland; Norwich, United Kingdom; Krakow, Poland; Heidelberg, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Granada, Spain; and Dunedin, New Zealand.

The new U.S. cities named were Austin, Texas (Media Arts); Detroit (Design), and Tucson (Gastronomy). They join Iowa City; Santa Fe, New Mexico (Crafts and Folk Art); and Paducah, Kentucky (Crafts and Folk Art).

The network, formed in 2004,  recognizes cities in seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. : The results of this year’s Call bears witness to the Network’s enhanced diversity and geographical representation with 22 cities from countries not previously represented.

By joining the Network, cities commit to collaborate and develop partnerships with a view to promoting creativity and cultural industries, to share best practices, to strengthen participation in cultural life, and to integrate culture in economic and social development strategies and plans.

 “The UNESCO Creative Cities Network represents an immense potential to assert the role of culture as enabler of sustainable development,” said Director-General Bokova. “I would like to recognize the many new cities and their countries that are enriching the Network with their diversity.”

John Kenyon, executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, said his organization looks forward to connecting and collaborating with the new members.

“This is an exciting time for our network as we add to the cultural and geographic diversity with these new cities,” Kenyon said. “ We welcome the opportunity to share Iowa City’s literature culture with these new partners, and to learn about their assets as we seek further ways to leverage our designations.”

For a full list of member cities, please visit the Creative Cities Network website.

Giving Tuesday: Join the movement & give back

On Giving Tuesday, please consider making a gift of any size to t he Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. Our 2015 was filled with successes that elevated the literary community in the Iowa City area.

The largest Iowa City Book Festival to date drew more than 4,000 people to our community. Headlined by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and social justice activist and attorney Bryan Stevenson, the festival featured more than 100 authors and presenters taking part in more than 50 events.


The Paul Engle Prize, our annual literary award, saw its profile rise with 2015 winner Sara Paretsky, who was part of a capacity event with NPR’s Maureen Corrigan at the Coralville Public Library.


Our annual One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival received creative writing submissions from more than 900 area students whose work was celebrated alongside that of our keynote speaker, children’s author and illustrator David LaRochelle.


We added to our Writers on the Fly video interview series, including new interviews with authors like Roxane Gay, David Rhoades, and 2015 Man Booker Prize-winner Marlon James.


We presented scholarships to high school students from across the state who were recognized for their writing excellence in our Paul Engle Essay Contest, including top prize winner Natalie Holmes from Iowa City High.


We connected area elementary school students with Hawkeye football stars like Austin Blythe and Jordan Canzeri as part of the Hawkeye Readers program, a partnership to promote reading and studying.


We collaborated on international projects with fellow Cities of Literature Dunedin, Norwich, and Krakow, which promote and celebrate our writers’ and artists’ work with the rest of the world.



All of these programs and events are free, but they are not without cost. Please help us to lay the foundation for a strong 2016 that will include the One Book Two Book Festival (Feb. 26-28), International Jazz Day (April 30), the Iowa City Book Festival (Oct. 6-9), and many other initiatives throughout the year by making a tax-deductible contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more.

Please make a contribution today