New Writers on the Fly video interview site

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature today has launched a new website that gathers video interviews with dozens of authors and makes them available for viewing by readers, writers, students, teachers and anyone who enjoys learning more about writers and their craft.

Writers on the Fly, found at, debuts with a featured video interview with Mary Szybist, the 2013 National Book Award winner in poetry, who reads from and discusses her latest collection, Incarnadine. Szybist will appear at the 2014 Iowa City Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 4, as part of a memorial reading marking the 10 years since the passing of poet Donald Justice.

In the videos, shot by Iowa City videographer Ben Hill, the authors sit for a series of questions – some consistent from one to the next, and some unique to that writer – and discussion of their work. In new videos being added to the collection every other week, the authors also read briefly from their work.

A new feature for educators offers lesson plans that draw on specific videos. As the site grows, additional plans will be added, giving teachers a unique resource when teaching writing. The Writers on the Fly debuted as an occasional feature on the City of Literature’s web site in 2010. With this new, dedicated site, those videos can all be found in one place along with additional resources to enhance the experience.

“We have dozens of these videos available, and it is our hope that this new accessible format will help viewers to discover and use this valuable resource,” said City of Literature Executive Director John Kenyon.

Older videos are being added to the site daily, while new, unseen videos will debut every other Monday. Existing interview subjects include Stuart Dybek, Mona Simpson, Nathan Englander, and Mary Swander. New and forthcoming interviews feature Amber Dermont, Aleksandar Hemon, Roxane Gay, and Joe Hill.


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