City of Literature names Kenyon as executive director

The board of directors of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature has named John Kenyon as executive director of the organization. Kenyon had been serving as interim executive director since mid-May. Prior to that, he was editor and director of media operations with the Corridor Business Journal. The change is effectively immediately.

Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City-Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and president of the City of Literature board, said Kenyon’s creativity, communication and planning over the past few months have set the direction for an exciting year in the City of Literature.

“After naming John the interim director last April, it didn’t take long for the board to question whether we would need to conduct a search,” he said. “John’s nonprofit experience, coupled with his literary passion and network, already has set us on a path to achieve all we envisioned for the City of Literature when receiving the designation.”

As executive director, Kenyon will oversee operations of the nonprofit organization, reporting to the 18-member board. His duties will include programming, outreach and fundraising.

“In the short time I have been in this position, I have been overwhelmed by the support, ideas and suggestions shared by members of this community,” Kenyon said. “People expect a lot from this organization, and I will work hard to deliver on that promise.”

To provide more information about its efforts and about the literary culture in general, the City of Literature has revamped its web site, In addition, the staff assembled an annual report that details the many events and partnerships undertaken during fiscal 2012. It can be downloaded at the web site.

Looking ahead, the organization will hold two events in October. On Oct. 14, it will host a screening of the new “City of Literature” film at the Englert, and on Oct. 17 at the Coralville Public Library, will hold the second Community Book Talk of the year. In addition, the City of Literature will spearhead the Iowa City Book Festival, and is working to determine the date and location for the 2013 event.

Kenyon, a Des Moines native and University of Iowa graduate, has been in journalism in the Corridor for nearly 20 years. The former Daily Iowan editor was with the Cedar Rapids Gazette for a decade as a reporter and editor. He helped to launch the Corridor Business Journal in 2004.

Kenyon is a member of the board of the Iowa City Summer of the Arts, and is chair of the Hawkeye Division of the March of Dimes. Prior to taking the interim position with the City of Literature, he served on that organization’s board and was a member of the Iowa City Public Library Board of Trustees. He was a 2008 recipient of the Corridor Business Journal‘s Forty Under 40 award and is a graduate of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leadership program.

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