St. Andrew Presbyterian Church Presents: A Conversation with Biographer Maxwell King

On April 27, author Maxwell King will share insights on Mister Rogers as part of St. Andrew’s weekend-long series, “A Friend Just Like You.” He will be joined by former Iowa City resident Saleem Ghubril, founder of the Pittsburgh Project.

In “The Good Neighbor,” Maxwell King traces Fred Rogers’ personal, professional, and artistic life to provide the first full-length biography of the man who became a public television icon. The book is being hailed as the definitive portrait of a beloved figure cherished by multiple generations.

What: A Conversation with Maxwell King, author of “The Good Neighbor”
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday April 27
Where: St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 140 Gathering Place Lane, Iowa City.

UNESCO Creative Cities Network statement on New Zealand terror attacks

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature stands in solidarity with our colleagues and we wish the best for our friends in Dunedin, Auckland, and Utrecht. UCCN Statement on New Zealand terror attacks.

One Book Two Book: February 22-24, 2019

One Book Two Book is an annual celebration of children’s literature in the City of Literature. This year’s special guest is award winning author and illustrator, Claudia McGehee!

Claudia McGehee is an American children’s picture book author and illustrator. Her mission is to create art and writings that inspire and connect people, especially children, with their natural world. McGehee works in scratchboard, a medium that mimics traditional wood-cuts. She scratches out images from an ink-coated board, removing layers and revealing stories.

We’ll kick things off Friday evening, February 22, with our Once Upon a Time dinner at the Hotel Vetro.  “Once Upon a Time” is a magical literary experience created to celebrate stories written and performed by children from each elementary school in Iowa City.

Saturday hundreds of young readers and writers will converge downtown at the Hotel Vetro for the Children’s Book Fair.  Non-stop activities including the Mississippi River Museum, Absolute Science, Claudia McGehee, face painting, author readings and signings, Brio and Duplo trains, arts and crafts, and costumed characters will make for an extraordinary day.  Attendees can meet with authors, discover new books, play with storybook characters, watch a play and be inspired by fun programming and writing workshops throughout the day!

On Sunday we invite the community to come together and celebrate creative writing by outstanding “up and coming” young authors. Two students from each grade will be honored for “Excellence” in one of the following categories, The Write Stuff and From the Heart, and they will read their work on stage at Macbride Auditorium. Other student “Writers of Distinction” will be presented certificates for their writing.  Thanks to generous donations from community members and local businesses, each student author is eligible to win amazing prizes including e-readers, tablets, and gift certificates.

2018 City of Literature Gift Guide

Still searching for the perfect gift for the lit-lover in your life? Check out our literary gift guide for all of your last minute gift needs.

For the Bookaholic

Does your aunt Sally seem to eat up novels faster than Santa sneaking Christmas cookies? Luckily, Iowa City has a plethora of local bookshops filled with a genre for every readers’ appetite.
Prairie LightsFrom Poetry to fiction head to this cozy shop to find signed copies from their most recent readings! Grab a gift card if you’re unsure what is up next in your loved-one’s “To Be Read” stack.
Iowa BookThis Iowa City staple isn’t just for textbooks. With a delightful selection of books in the basement you’re sure to find something for both the readers and the Hawkeyes in your home.
The Book EndDid you know the Iowa City Public Library has their own bookstore? Find the Book End on the second floor of the ICPL, and enjoy their wide range of gently used books, and audio-books.
The Haunted BookshopNot only is The Haunted Bookshop full of books (and cats), but they also have the best toys! Cross two people off your list in one spooky stop.

For the Coffee Connoisseur

Whether you’ve got a writer that practically lives at their local coffee shop, or a student that needs a little motivation to get through finals week we’ve listed our favorite local coffee shops to grab a gift card from!
Java House Cozy ambiance, antique furniture, and piping hot coffee, what else do you need to get in the creative spirit? You’ll find it all in the Java House! Gift cards available, as well as beans for at home brewing.
High Ground CafeWith coffee, tea, smoothies, a full lunch menu, and a wide selection of beers and wine you could spend the whole day at High Ground…and you just might! High Ground also has locations in Coralville, if your giftee prefers to stay away from the downtown scene.
Prairie Lights CafeAs if you didn’t need another reason to go to Prairie Lights head up to their second floor coffee shop. Featuring pastries from Deluxe Iowa City, and staff created lattes this spot is a favorite of writers from all over Iowa City.
CortadoNeed a place you can really zen out and focus in? Cortado may just be the spot. Bright comfortable lighting and a WIFI-free coffee shop means you’ll have no distractions from getting your writing or reading done. (Try out the Peppermint Mocha featured in this photo!)


For the Artist

Still haven’t found the perfect gift idea? Iowa City is full of local shops that offer a variety of literary gifts!
RSVPHere you’ll find a notebook for every type of writer, and pens that come in every color. They also carry a series of note cards featuring local authors! This is the store to head to whether you’ve got a budding author on your hands, or someone that wants to explore bullet journaling!
White RabbitFor the fashion and book lover this women’s store carries both vintage and new clothes, as well as cheeky posters, and City of Lit hoodies and prints.
Artisans GalleryJewelry and art from local artists the Artisans Gallery has gifts you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Check out the City of Literature bookmarks near the front of the store!
Raygun If you haven’t bought someone a tee-shirt from Raygun as a gift yet, are you even a true Iowa Citian? Check out our “Iowa City is Lit-erature” shirt.
BlickBlick not only has notebooks, and all the art supplies you could ever dream of, but they also carry calligraphy sets! Set up your loved one with their new favorite writing hobby.
The Iowa Writers’ HouseWith workshops starting in January and going on throughout spring give your loved one the gift of creativity this year! The IWH has gift cards, and workshops available for purchase.


Entries for Poetry in Public 2019 Now Being Accepted

It’s time once again for local writers to submit poems for consideration in the 17th annual Poetry in Public Program, sponsored by the Iowa City Public Art Program.

Johnson County writers of all ages and all levels of writing ability and experience are encouraged to submit entries to the contest. The program was initiated in 2002 to celebrate, promote, and nurture the rich writing culture that exists in Iowa City.

A panel of local judges will review entries and then select poems that will be displayed throughout the Iowa City 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. Rules for the competition are as follows:

  • Entrants must be residents of Johnson County.
  • Only one poem per author will be considered. Submitted poems will not be returned.
  • The poem can be no more than seven lines in length (not including title), and can be either an existing or new work.
  • An excerpt from a longer poem will be considered if it can stand alone.
  • Poems are generally published as is. Teachers and/or parents are encouraged to work with students on proper spelling and punctuation before submission.
  • Poems will be judged on quality of writing, as well as accessibility and suitability for public display before a general audience.
  • Avoid special complex formatting, layouts, “word art,” and use of non-standard typefaces.
  • If reprint permissions are required, please get permission prior to submitting your work.

Entries should be submitted using the online form posted on the Poetry in Public website A printable form is also available on the website or by request.

Poetry in Public entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.