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.

8 Cities of Literature, 3 U.S. Cities join UNESCO network

Today, Oct. 31, on UN’s World Cities Day, 64 newly designated UNESCO Creative Cities have been announced. Eight Cities of Literature have been added to our network. We congratulate these cities on their new designation and on all the work they have done to be recognized by UNESCO. All 28 Cities of Literature will be welcomed to Iowa City in April 2018 for our network’s annual conference.

Among the new Cities of Literature is Seattle, which becomes the second U.S. city to earn the designation. Also joining the network from the U.S. are Kansas City (Music) and San Antonio (Gastronomy). That brings the number of U.S. Creative Cities Network members to nine.

“We welcome the new cities to our network, and look forward to learning from and collaborating with these partners,” said John Kenyon, executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.

In addition to Seattle, new Cities of Literature are Bucheon, South Korea; Durban, South Africa; Lillehammer, Norway; Manchester, UK; Milan, Italy; Quebec, Canada; and Utrecht, Netherlands.
Iowa City was designated as the third City of Literature in the world, and the second Creative Cities Network member in the U.S. in 2008. Since 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network highlights its members’ creativity within seven fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. It now counts a total of 180 cities in 72 countries.

Outgoing UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova announced the new designations today at the UN General Conference in Paris.

“These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance, with 19 cities from countries not previously represented in the Network” she said. “The cooperation framework proposed to foster candidate cities from the Africa region – a UNESCO Global Priority – has been a true success with 9 African cities now joining the Network.”

Since 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network highlights its members’ creativity within seven fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. It now counts a total of 180 cities in 72 countries.

To learn more about all 64 new Cities, and the 180 total Creative Cities in the UNESCO network, visit

Alexander Chee Awarded the Paul Engle Prize

On October 12th, during the 2017 Iowa City Book Festival, Alexander Chee became the 6th recipient of the Paul Engle Prize. You can now watch the complete ceremony, which includes introductions by Iowa City of Literature director John Kenyon and Coralville Public Library director Alison Ames Galstad, remarks by Chee, and a conversation between Chee and Iowa City novelist Garth Greenwell.