Iowa City Book Festival

Sept. 28-Oct. 13, 2022

The Iowa City Book Festival and Prairie Lights Books Presents: An Evening with Anthony Doerr

September 28 @ 7:00 pm
Englert Theatre
221 E. Washington St.
Iowa City, IA 52240 United States

The Paul Engle Award Ceremony Featuring Rebecca Solnit in Conversation with Lyz Lenz

September 29 @ 7:00 pm
Coralville Public Library
1401 5th St.
Coralville, IA 52241 United States


October 3 @ 7:00 pm
Iowa City Public Library
123 S. Linn St.
Iowa City, IA 52240 United States


October 6 @ 7:00 pm
Prairie Lights Books
15 S. Dubuque St.
Iowa City, IA 52240 United States

Teaching Classics in the Internet Age with Anna Barker

October 7 @ 4:00 pm
Iowa City Public Library
123 S. Linn St.
Iowa City, IA 52240 United States


Angie Cruz is a novelist and editor. Her fourth novel, How Not To Drown in A Glass of Water is forthcoming Fall 2022. Her novel, Dominicana was the inaugural book pick for GMA book club and chosen as the 2019/2020 Wordup Uptown Reads. It was shortlisted for The Women’s Prize, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction, The Aspen Words Literary Prize, a RUSA Notable book and the winner of the ALA/YALSA Alex Award in fiction. It was named most anticipated/ best book in 2019 by Time, Newsweek, People, Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Esquire. Cruz is the author of two other novels, Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee and the recipient of numerous fellowships and residencies including the Lighthouse Fellowship, Siena Art Institute, and the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Fellowship. She’s published shorter works in The Paris Review, VQR, Callaloo, Gulf Coast and other journals. She’s the founder and Editor-in-chief of the award winning literary journal, Aster(ix) and is currently an Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh. She divides her time between Pittsburgh, New York and Turin.


Anthony Doerr was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and the novels About Grace,  All the Light We Cannot See, which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and Cloud Cuckoo Land, which was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award and Novel of the Year in the British Book Awards.

Sarah Kendzior

Sarah Kendzior is the author of the bestsellers THE VIEW FROM FLYOVER COUNTRY and HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT and of the upcoming book THEY KNEW: HOW A CULTURE OF CONSPIRACY KEEPS AMERICA COMPLACENT. Since 2018, she has been the cohost of the podcast Gaslit Nation, which covers corruption in the US and the rise of autocracy worldwide. Kendzior has a PhD in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied authoritarian regimes of the former Soviet Union. After getting her PhD in 2012, Kendzior spent a decade writing about the decline of the United States for various publications around the world. She lives with her husband and kids in St. Louis.


John Koethe has published over ten books of poetry and has received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (for Ninety-fifth Street), the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award (Falling Water), and the Frank O’Hara Award for Poetry (Domes). Other poetry books include Beyond BeliefWalking Backwards, and The Swimmer. He has also published books on Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosophical skepticism, and poetry. He is the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee.


For forty years, Alex Kotlowitz has been telling stories from the heart of America, deeply intimate tales of struggle and perseverance. He is the author of four books, including his most recent, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago which received the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. His other books include the national bestseller There Are No Children Here, which the New York Public Library selected as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. It received the Helen B. Bernstein Award and was adapted as a television movie produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey. It was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year along with his second book, The Other Side of the River which also received The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction. His book on Chicago, Never a City So Real, was recently released in paperback.


Lyz’s writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book God Land was published in 2019, through Indiana University Press. Her second book Belabored, was published in 2020 by Bold Type Books. Lyz’s essay “All the Angry Women” was also included in the anthology Not that Bad edited by Roxane Gay. Her third book, This American Ex Wife, will be published by Crown. Lyz received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives in Iowa with her two kids and two dogs and one cat. She write’s a regular newsletter, Men Yell At Me, where she explores the intersection of politics and our bodies in red state America.

Beth A. Livingston

Dr. Beth A. Livingston is an Associate Professor in Management & Entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, an internal advisor with the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest, a NIOSH Center of Excellence, and the faculty director of the Dore-Tippie Women’s Leadership program. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Florida, and her MBA from the University of Kentucky, she began her career at Cornell University in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations before moving to the Midwest. She is passionate about studying human resources, gender & diversity, and the management of work and family in the service of employee well-being. Her research has been highlighted in the New York Times, NPR, and the Harvard Business Review, and she has been published in multiple top academic journals.


Elizabeth McCracken is the author of seven books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your HurryThe Giant’s House, Niagara Falls All Over AgainAn Exact Replica of a Figment of My ImaginationThunderstruck & Other StoriesBowlaway, and the forthcoming collection of short stories The Souvenir Museum.  She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Thunderstruck & Other Stories won the 2015 Story Prize. Her work has been published in The Best American Short StoriesThe Pushcart PrizeThe O. Henry PrizeThe New York Times Magazine, and many other places.


Before joining the journalism faculty of the University of Iowa, Don McLeese was an award winning music journalist. He was popular music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Austin American-Statesman, senior editor at No Depression and a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone magazine. His work has also appeared in publications including the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Oxford American and Entertainment Weekly. He has written three previous books, including Dwight Yoakam, A Thousand Miles from Nowhere.


Victor Ray is the F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Criminology and African American Studies at the University of Iowa and a Nonresident Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. His research applies critical race theory to classic sociological questions. His work appears in journals such as the American Sociological Review, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and Sociological Theory. In addition to this research, Victor is also an active public scholar, publishing commentary in The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, and Boston Review.


Rebecca Solnit has been named the eleventh recipient of the Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization.

Solnit is a writer, historian, and activist who has written more than twenty books on feminism, environmental and urban history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including Whose Story Is This?, Call Them By Their True Names (Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction), Men Explain Things to MeThe Mother of All Questions, and the recent memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence.

She has received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at the Guardian and a former “Easy Chair” columnist at Harper’s. Speaking about the award, Solnit said she was honored to be recognized.

“Finding out, while still on the first cup of tea, that you’ve won a prize, and it’s named after a poet, editor, and teacher passionately devoted to internationalism and the literary community, is a very good way to start the day,” she said. “To receive a prize that has gone to writers I admire so much—Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay among them—deepens my sense of the honor of being invited into the community of writers, past and present, and it encourages me to keep trying to do the kind of engaged work this prize recognizes.”

The prize includes a $20,000 award and a one-of-a-kind work of art. Solnit will receive the award at a special ceremony September 28, 7 p.m. at the Coralville Public Library.

Elizabeth Weiss

Elizabeth Weiss earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Her nonfiction has been published in The New Yorker online. She has taught for the University of Iowa, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, and the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, and is a mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse, daughter, and dog.


Robert Costa, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Gina Frangello, Gregory Galloway, Laura Gellot, Julie Hanson, Pierre Joris, Shreya Khullar, Deb Marquart, Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller, Kristy Nabhan-Warren, Marc Rahe, Emily Rapp, Chuy Renteria, Fiona Sampson, Habib Tengour, Bob Woodward


James Autry, Dr. Rana Awdish, Erika Billerbeck, David Bluder, Kelly Carlin, Charles Connerly, Thomas Cook, Lisa Dillmann, Hope Edelman, Dr. Eve L. Ewing, Fatima Farheen, Barbara Feller, Thomas Frank, Anja Kampmann, Jill McCorkle, David Perkins, Anne Posten, Pilar Quintana, Ron Rash


Kendra Allen, Paula Becker, Toi Derricota, Joseph Dobrian, John Domini, Andy Douglas, Cornelius Eady, Sarah Elgatian, Lori Erickson, Melissa Febos, James Geary, Josh Gondelman, David Hamilton, Donika Kelly, Amanda Lee Koe, Jessica Laser, Lyz Lenz, Lauren Markham, Joe Michaud, Kei Miller, Kassandra Montag, Raj Patel, Eileen Pollack, Daniel Poppick, John Sandford, William Steele, Lisa Tetrault, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Christina Ward, Don Waters, Dr. Angela Sadler Williamson, Andrea Wilson


Haifa Abu Al-Nadi, Usman Ali, Sadagat Aliyeva, Eman Alyousuf, Anastacia-Renee, James Anderson, James A. Autry, Kateryna Babkina, Bayasgalan Bastuuri, Ari Berman, Denise Pattiz Bogard, Rumena Bužarovska, Dr. Ira Byock, Tameka Cage Conley, Chow Hon-Fai, Max Allan Collins, Dan Coman, Common, Art Cullen, Z. P. Dala, Kathy Eldon, Jane Gregory, Tahila Hakimi, Eduardo Halfon, Rick Harsch, Tim Harwood, Silvia Hidalgo, Huang Chong-Kai, Dan Kaufman, Rasha Khayat, William Kent Krueger, Mary Kubica, Emily Liebowitz, Bejan Matur, Mindy Meija, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Wayetu Moore, Mike Mullin, Derek Nnuro, Faisal Oddang, Sunni Overend, Melissa Palma, Chuy Renteria, Nancy Rommelmann, Alex Salkever, Chandramohan Sathyanathan, Sjón, David Small, Mark Wilson


Francesca Abbate,  Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Chris Adrian, Ramsha Ashraf, Larry Baker, Will Bardenwerper , Gary Boelhower, Luis Bravo, Dan Campion, Rafael Campo, Frances Cannon, Alexander Chee, Audrey Chin, Jennifer Colville, Loren W. Cooper, Eliza David, Li Di An, Joseph Dobrian, Michelle Edwards, Nathan Englander, Lori Erickson,  Bi Feiyu, Jin Feng, Julia Fierro, Ed Folsom, Melissa Fraterrigo, Alberto Fuguet, Kaori Fujino, Kathryn Gamble, Enza Garcia Arreaza, Ted Genoways, Erin Gitchell, Lorna Goodison, Garth Greenwell, Barbara Hall, Ya Hsien, John Ira Thomas, Justine Johnson Hemmestad, Jon K. Lauck, Dung Kai-Cheng, Hilary Kaplan, Lisa Katz, Anne Kennedy, Jon Kerstetter, Joe Kyugen Michaud, Mike Lankford, Luljeta Lleshanaku, Okky Madasari, Christopher Merrill, Sadek Mohmmed, Peter Nazareth, Pola Oloixarac, Tim Parks, Steve Paul, Jim Perlman, Sarah Prineas, Jennifer Pritchard, Donald  Ray Pollock, Julie Russell-Steuart, Jeffrey Ryan, Steve Semken, Yuriy Serebriansky, Yaara Shehori, Daniel Simon, Crystal Spring Gibbons, Whitney Terrell, Jeremy Tiang, Antionette Tidjani Alou, Zachary Turpin, Anja Utler, Inara Versemnieks, Manual Vilas, Xavier Villanova, Jacquelyn Vincenta, Daniel Wallace, Kenneth Whyte, G. Willow Wilson, Andrea Wilson, Poon Yiu Ming


alea adigweme, Wasi Ahmed, Khaled Al Khamissi, Eros Atalia, Rachel Aukes, Yusi Avianto Pareanom, Anna Barker, Dan Barry, Odeh Bisharat, Daniel Boscaljon, Velibor Bozovic, James F. Brooks, Julie A. Burns, Angie Carter, Crystal Chan, Ryan Collins, Jennifer Colville, Rachel Corbett, Galit Dahan-Carlibach, Zp Dala, Eliza David, Joseph Dobrian, John Domini, Ricky Dragoni, Legodile ‘Dredd  X’ Seganabeng, Anaïs Duplan, Allen Eskens, John Freeman, Roxane Gay, Mara Genschel, Obari Gomba, Mortada Gzar, Tse Hao Guang, Donald Harstad, Craig A. Hart, Mallory Hellman, Aleksandar Hemon, Ray Hendrickson, Nathan Hill, Claire Hoffman, Adam G. Hooks, Michelle Hoover, Helen Horn, Allegra Hyde, Marie Jackson, Leslie Jamison, Zhou Jianing, Ruel Johnson, Akhil Katyal, Daniel Khalastchi, Suki Kim, Jennifer L. Knox, Chen Ko Hua, Tom Lutz, Alexander Maksik, Emily Martin, Allison Means, Christopher Merrill, Rachel Morgan, Amanah Mustafi, Okey Ndibe, Marc Nieson, Lynne Nugent, Robert Oldshue, Robert Olen Butler, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Robert Owens, Shenaz Patel, Carlos Patiño Pereda, F. Paul Wilson, Alice M. Phillips, Leonard Pitts Jr., Hilary Plum, Vladimir Poleganov, Carolyn Raffensperger, Hensli Rahn Solorzano, Nell Regan, Rick Riordan, Melvin Rivers, Julie Rubini, Julie Russel-Stewart, Deb Schense, Steve Semken, Vivek Shanbhag, Tomoka Shibasaki, Tom Shroder, Courtney Sina Meredith, Katherine E. Standefer, Stephanos Stephanides, Catherine A. Stewart, Kalmia Strong, Kenriikka Tavi, Mariano Tenconi Blanco, Erik Therme, Genevieve Trainor, Tatiana Troitskaya, B.C. Tweedt, Kali VanBaale, Ng VirginiaSuk-Yin, Angelo Volandes, Andrea Wilson, Andrea Wulf, Rachel Yoder, Christina Yohannes, Alice S. Yousef


Johanna Aitchison, Aron Aji, Margret Aldrich, Raed Al-Jishi, Elissa Altman, Armen of Armenia, Jabari Asim, Kirill Azernyi, Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, Sara Baume, Matt Bell, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Xavier Cavazos, Matthew Cheng, Elisabeth Chretien, Rob Cline, Ryan Collins, Maureen Corrigan, Michael D’Antonio, Cate Dicharry, Joseph Dobrian, Brian Duffy, Nael Eltoukhy, Barry Estabrook, Yao Feng, Ed Folsom, Linda Gerdner, Robert Goolrick, Dennis Greens, Lauren Haldeman, Edward Hamlin, Riley Hanick, Nisah Haron, Charles Haverty, Caroline Heller, Tom Janikowski, Mary Jedlicka Humston, Tim Johnston, El Jones, Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, Daniel Khalastchi, Harris Khalique, Jonathan Klatz, Samuel Kolawole, Joe Kyugen Michaud, Polen Ly, Aj Mahler, Rebecca Makkai, Tracy Manaster, Salvatore Marici, Margaret Mateo Palmer, Linzee McCray, John McNally, Michael Mendis, Christopher Merrill, Summer Miller, David Morice, Stuart Neville, Lynne Nugent, Sara Paretsky, Gary Paul Nabhan, Horace Porter, Rochelle Potkar, Mary Potter Kenyon, Sean Preciado Genell, Sara Prineas, Homeira Qaderi, Marc Rahe, Lennox Randon, Trinity Ray, Robert Reich, Rachel Rose, J. Ryan Stradal, Aki Salmela, John Scalzi, Lisa Schlesinger, Jeremy Schraffenberger, Steve Semken, Marie Silkeberg, Bryan Stevenson, Ann Struthers, Vu Tran, Marisela Treviño Orta, Villeda, Andrea Wilson, Stephen Witt, Antônio Xerxenesky, Muang Yu Py


Abdullah Al Wesali, Luis Alberto Urrea, Binayak Banerjee, Jeff Biggers, Marcus Burke, Siobhan Campbell, Edward Carey, Bernice Chauly, Marilyn Chin, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Auguste Corteau, Cynthia Edul, James Ellroy, Jessie Ann Foley, Kathleen Founds, Boaz Gaon, Assaf Gavron, Reyna Grande, Robert Gutche Jr., Alan Hayes, Myay Hmone Lwin, Terrance Holt, Kinana Issa, Marlon James, Stephen James Smith, Yeow Kai Chai, Daren Kamali, Laurynas Katkus, Eun Keekyung, Gerður Kristný, Chi Li, Peyton Marshall, Ayana Mathis, Craig McDonald, Jon McGoran, Mujib Mehrdad, June Melby, Sadek Mohammed, Sabata-Mpho Mokae, Peter Nazareth, Martina Odonkor, Hubert Pedroli, Scott Phillips, Marilynne Robinson, Andra Rotaru, Sabah Sanhouri, Enrique Serrano, Ahmed Shafie, Tang Siu Wa, Heather A. Slomski, Jane Smiley, Levi Stahl, Harry Stecopoulos, Sean Strub, Brian Switek, Mary Szybist, Natasha Tiniacos, Franca Treur, Drucilla Wall, Eamonn Wall, Joseph Woods, Paddy Woodworth


Muhamed Abdelnabi, John M. Adams, Ali Al Saeed, Mario Albert Zambrano, Krim Alrawi, Staci Amber Mercado, Mark Angeles, Dean Bakopoulos, Natalie Bakopoulos, Sally Barr Ebest, Jeff Biggers, Charles Blackstone, Rodrigo Blanco CalderÓn, Jonathan Blum, Carrie Brown, Sarah Bruni, Lan Samantha Chang, Joelle Charbonneau, Craig Cliff, Rob Cline, Tom Crosshill, Susanna Daniel, Kwame Dawes, Amber Dermont, Sean Doolittle, Tom Drury, Martin Dyar, Nada Faris, Gregory Galloway, Travey Garvis Graves, Dmitry Golynko, Dennis Green, Julie Hanson, John Havick, Wang Jiaxin, Stephen Jimenez, Timothy Juhl, Whiti Kereaka, Brian Kimberling, Dénes Krusovszky, Amanda Lee Koe, Tracy Lucht, Zeyar Lynn, Alexander Maksik, Teemu Manninen, Anthony Marra, Ben Mauk, Claudia McGehee, Tessa Mellas, Lili Mendoza, Christopher Merrill, Kate Milliken, Shandana Minhas, Mahsa Mohebali, Nina Muker-Jee Furtenau, Asma Nadia, Corinne N’Guessan, Caryl Pagel, Mary Potter Kenyon, Lennox Randon, Oscar Ranzo, Delia Ray Howard, John Rector, David Rhodes, Robin Romm, Roland Rugero, Andrew Sean Greer, Kim Seoryeong, Bennett Sims, Curtis Sittenfield, Clifton Spargo, Wesley Stance, Sridala Swami, Yui Tanizaki, Karen Thompson Walker, Ivan Turgenev, Simon Urban, Timothy Walch, Don Waters, Larry Watson

About the festival

WELCOME TO IOWA CITY! The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization is proud to offer you nearly two weeks of excellent, one-of-a-kind, free, literary programming as part of the 2022 Iowa City Book Festival. Iowa City is a City of Literature for many reasons: The wonderful writing programs at the University of Iowa, our small presses and magazines, our wonderful libraries, our bookstores, and amenities like the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk.

The Iowa City Book Festival is organized by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, a nonprofit 501(c)3 that manages the Iowa City area’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. The City of Literature works to advance its mission of celebrating and supporting literature on a local, regional, national, and international level, connecting readers and writers through the power of story.





Why Iowa City?

The oldest creative writing program in the country, and still regarded the best. More than forty Pulitzer Prize winners. North America’s only UNESCO City of Literature. How did the midwestern college town of Iowa City, Iowa become the capital of creative writing in America? Check out the City of Literature documentary to find out.

Support the Festival

Every Book Festival event is offered without charge, but they are not free. Your tax deductible donation gives us the ability to offer programs like this festival. Please consider supporting the City of Literature by making a donation today.

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