Previous Iowa City Book Festival Authors Latest Publications

With the 2019 Iowa City Book Festival less than one week away, we thought it appropriate to shoutout some of the newest publications from the 2018 and 2017 Book Festival authors. 


Mary Kubica (When the Lights Go Out, 2018 Book Festival) 

The Other Mrs.

Ever been anxious about moving? Sadie Froust’s concerns about moving from Chicago to small-town Maine were amplified ten-fold when her neighbor was discovered dead in her home. This unsolved murder paired with her husband Will’s disturbed niece and the unexpected death of his sister made the eerie, chilling demeanor of the old house all too real for Sadie. She decides to take matters into her own hands in order to preserve her safety, but the more twisted family secrets she uncovers, the more she finds she has to lose. This psychological thriller is set to release February 2020. 


William Kent Krueger (Desolation Mountain, 2018 Book Festival)

This Tender Land

This historical fiction novel takes place in Minnesota during the Great Depression. Four orphans flee a school for Native Americans that they were forcibly separated from their parents to attend. While meandering down the Mississippi in a stolen canoe, they encounter all kinds of different folk from farmers to faith healers to displaced families all hit with the Depression. For fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, This Tender Land exemplifies a big-hearted novel that demonstrates how we’re all connected under the same struggles and the same hopes and dreams.


Max Allan Collins (Scarface and the Untouchable, 2018 Book Festival)

Do No Harm

To be released in March 2020, Collins’ latest Nathan Heller mystery begins in 1954 when Heller takes on the Sam Sheppard case. With shaky evidence and a questionable motive, a young doctor is accused of his wife’s brutal murder. The doctor claims an intruder did the deed, while the public attests that the husband was disturbed and wanted out of married life. Heller tries to prove his innocence to no avail, and the doctor is sentenced to life in prison. Flash forward to 1966 and Heller is given a second chance to free the now much older inmate. The detective is steadfast on proving his innocence, but will he put himself in danger in the process?


G. Willow Wilson (The Butterfly Mosque, 2017 Book Festival)

The Bird King


Set in the Iberian peninsula during the 15th century, just before Christopher Columbus set sail, Fatima is the sole remaining concubine to the sultan. Her best friend and palace mapmaker, Hassan, can draw maps of places he’s never seen and can even bend reality and change distances between place and person. Some see this ability as a gift, but the Christian-dominated Spanish monarchy sees Hassan’s craft as sorcery. With only a jinn and Hassan’s talent to help them, the two journey through a Spain that is on the brink of a major change due to quarreling empires and religions. Former One Community, One Book author G. Willow Wilson writes in a way that NPR writer Amal El-Mohtar reveres as “Deeply beautiful and wondrously sad, and I can’t tell if it ended too quickly or if I just needed it not to — if I just wanted to dwell in a home built out of story for a little longer yet.”


Pola Oloxiarac (Savage Theories, 2017 Book Festival) 


Originally published in Spanish, this novel is a thriller centered around a violent occurrence just days before writers from all over the world congregate in Sweden for an award ceremony for a prestigious literary award. All the authors are put on edge upon arriving for the event. Protagonist and narrator Mona Tarrile-Bryne finds herself amidst scandals and a constant air of fear surrounding the event. In this novel Pola Oloxiarac shows the true power of language in a world still dominated by the “culturally elite.”


Alexander Chee (Paul Engle Prize winner, 2017 Book Festival) 

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel-Essays

Former Engle Prize winner and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Alexander Chee’s latest book is a collection of essays loosely tied together to make a memoir that untangles his life from his cultural background and sexual orientation, to his journey as a writer and most impactful experiences in his life. This book is a testament to who Chee is, and gives instruction to identify the critical aspects in our own lives that shape our values and personal truths. 


Nathan Englander (Dinner at the Center of the Earth, 2017 Book Festival)

Raised in a Jewish Orthodox home, Larry is an outcast in his own family because the young 7th grader considers himself an atheist. When his father unexpectedly dies and the responsibility of reciting the Kaddish everyday for 11 months to put his father’s soul safely to rest falls on Larry, he looks for the easy way out. In an age where basically anything can be bought on the internet, Larry finds a website where a stranger can be paid to recite the Kaddish daily in Larry’s place. 20 years after punching in his credit card information and hitting submit, Larry has re-found his religious identity and begins to feel selfish about the decision his adolescent self made. This satirical novel pokes fun at living in an age where the world must grapple with constant temptations from the internet. 

Check out our Writers on the Fly interview with Englader!


Frances Cannon (The Highs and Lows of Shapeshift Ma and Big-Little Frank, 2017 Book Festival)

Walter Benjamin Reimagined

In this collection of pieces to interpret German Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin’s work, Cannon uses both writing and illustrations to give insight on his thoughts and dreams. This work not only brings Benjamin’s work to the attention of the reader, but his work mixed with Cannon’s drawings and hand printed notes and text makes for a piece of artistic literature.


Well that’s all for now folks! Hope to see you all at the Iowa City Book Festival next week!

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2 Responses to “Previous Iowa City Book Festival Authors Latest Publications”

  1. edward f sarrazin says:


    Brooke Sarrazin is my daughter

  2. Mary Sarrazin says:

    Brilliant— good books, great description.