The official ribbon-cutting for James Alan McPherson Park will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5, at the park, 1856 Seventh Avenue Ct., in Iowa City.

The Iowa City City Council approved the renaming of Creekside Park to James Alan McPherson Park in March 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the newly redesigned park’s ribbon-cutting was delayed.

The ceremony will be a part of the Party in the Park event at McPherson Park. It will include a special park sign reveal, ribbon-cutting, music from Cedar County Cobras, yard games and kids crafts. Consultants will also be in attendance to discuss future park enhancements in honor of McPherson.

The unanimous vote from council changes the park’s name to honor the legendary career and life of McPherson, a longtime Iowa City resident, professor at the University of Iowa’s prestigious Writers’ Workshop, and the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Best known for his essays and short stories, McPherson‘s 1977 short story collection, Elbow Room, was the publication that earned him the Pulitzer. He would go on to teach at the Writers’ Workshop for over 30 years. Among his many honors is his distinction as the first recipient of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature’s Paul Engle Prize in 2011. McPherson passed in 2016 at the age of 72.

To learn more about the impact and legacy of McPhersonvisit the University of Iowa’s website


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