Acclaimed Writers’ Workshop alum T.C. Boyle returns to Iowa City

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author T.C. Boyle will visit Iowa City to read from his acclaimed works during a free, public event at the Englert Theatre.

During the event, which will take place on Thursday, May 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m., Boyle will read “The Lie” from his short story collection, Wild Child, which was originally published in the New Yorker.

Boyle is best known for The Tortilla Curtain, The Road to Wellville, World’s End, and several other award-winning novels and short story collections. His work tackle themes like environmentalism, fanaticism, and the unintended consequences of technology.

This event is free, but guests are asked to register in advance by visiting Attendees can join the event in-person or via livestream.

Boyle will also be at FilmScene on Wednesday, May 4, for a screening of the 1994 film adaptation of his book The Road to Wellville. A discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the film showing around 6:50 p.m.

Learn more about T.C. Boyle and his latest novel, Talk to Me, by reading this Q&A with Iowa Magazine.

The University of Iowa Center for Advancement, UI Lecture Committee, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature are proud to present this program.

Eve Ewing’s Mission Creek visit allows for long-delayed Engle Prize presentation

Dr. Eve L. Ewing with the 2020 Paul Engle Prize.Each October during the Iowa City Book Festival, we present the Paul Engle Prize. This prize, named for the long-time director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and co-founder of the International Writing Program, honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.

Dr. Eve L. Ewing was the tenth winner of the Engle award in 2020. It is usually celebrated with an in-person event at the Coralville Public Library, Coralville being the sponsor of the prize. We held a virtual event that featured Dr. Ewing being interviewed by Iowa City’s own Andre Perry in October 2020. However, the award also includes a one-of-a-kind artwork crafted to reflect the work and impact of the recipient, usually presented during that ceremony. Because her ceremony was virtual, we never had that opportunity, and waited for a time when Dr. Ewing could visit Iowa City.  Her visit to the Mission Creek Festival afforded us that chance.

We presented Dr. Ewing’s prize before her keynote reading on April 9, at FilmScene. The prize was created by artist Mike Sneller with M.C. Ginsberg here in Iowa City. In Mike’s words, the prize “recognizes Dr. Ewing’s work bringing attention to inequalities in education in inner city areas with a blend of sociology and personal experience. The base of the prize is a cutout of Logan Square in Chicago, where she is from, with each of  the schools marked with a silhouette from the cover of her book, Ghosts in the School Yard. In the center is an Ironheart-like figure launching out into the world to improve it with her experience and knowledge.”

Reading for Ukraine set for April 11

Join Ukrainian and U.S. writers in person at the Shambaugh House or online for a special reading dedicated to supporting Ukraine. Co-sponsored by Prairie Lights Bookstore, the Iowa City, Lviv, and Odessa UNESCO Cities of Literature, and International Programs.

Participating readers include Marilynne Robinson, Bob Shacochis, Elizabeth Willis, Jane Hirshfield, Oksana Lutsyshyna Pavlo Korobchuk, Joyelle McSweeney and more.

Register for the streaming version at

CR Prairie student selected as Iowa Student Poet Ambassador

On Friday, April 22, Cedar Rapids Prairie junior Johnnie Each will be inaugurated in Des Moines as the 2022 Iowa Student Poet Ambassador.

The Iowa Student Poet Ambassador program is a collaboration of the following partner organizations:

“The Poet Ambassador program recognizes an outstanding, young writer and celebrates poetry and the literary arts in Iowa,” said Jan Warren, Assistant Director for Student Services at the Belin-Blank Center and Coordinator of the Iowa Scholastic Writing Awards. “We are so pleased that Ms. Each will continue in what is now an impressive tradition set by our inaugural Student Poet Ambassador, Shreya Khullar.”

The Ambassador was chosen from a select group of students who participated in either the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards or the Iowa Poetry Association. There were two rounds in the selection process: first, a blind reading and ranking of each student’s poetry, and then a selection committee made up of individuals from the partner organization selected Each based on her ability to serve in an ambassadorial role. Each earned multiple gold medals at both the regional and national level in this year’s Scholastic competition for her poetry. She is also winner of the City of Literature’s 2021 Glory of the Senses: Paul Engle Essay Contest.

  • Belin-Blank Center and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
  • Iowa Arts Council
  • Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature
  • Iowa Library Association
  • Iowa Poet Laureate Program
  • Iowa Poetry Association
  • State Library of Iowa/Iowa Center for the Book
  • University of Iowa Arts Share

Each will be inaugurated in the Rotunda of the State Capitol at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 22, as part of National Poetry Month.  Representatives from partner organizations will be in attendance and poetry will be read by Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart, Khullar, and Each.

Cities of Literature stand with Ukraine on World Poetry Day, March 21

In celebration of World Poetry Day, and standing in solidarity with our sister Cities of Literature in Lviv and Odessa in Ukraine, several UNESCO Cities of Literature joined together to present the poem, “[So I’ll talk about it]” by Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin. Poets from 11 Cities of Literature read lines from the poem.

Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey from Iowa City is among the poets taking part.

The poem will premiere on the City of Literature’s YouTube channel at noon CT on Monday, March 21, which is World Poetry Day.

Thank you to Melbourne City of Literature for organizing this project.

To read bios of the participating poets, click here.

To read this poem and others by Ukrainian poets, click here.