Faces of the City of Literature

The Faces of the City of Literature series follows key figures in the literary community of Iowa City, giving readers a glimpse into the lives of the people who make the great literary culture here even better. This series is written by Alison and Nicholas McCarty.


Faces of the City of Literature: Nialle Sylvan

Seated in the historic Northside Marketplace district, The Haunted Bookshop (named after the book by Christopher Morley) is a cherished Iowa City institution. The shop has moved around quite a bit since its founding in 1978, but it remains a notoriously vibrant part of the Iowa City literary community. Patrons flock to The Haunted Bookshop from across Eastern Iowa, anxious to pet the lush fur of the two in-house cats, Nierme and Logan, browse an eclectic collection of over 50,000 used, rare, and out-of-print books, or just feel at home in a reading nook atop the creaky floorboards of the historic Wentz House, built in 1847. Nialle Sylvan has been the owner of The Haunted Bookshop since 2004.


Faces of the City of Literature: Andrea Wilson








While the Iowa Writers’ House sits in the heart of Iowa City, the work done by Founder and Executive Director Andrea Wilson and a team of dedicated volunteers is based on a vision of a more connected world. Wilson’s international outlook, first cultivated in Columbus Junction, Iowa, was only enriched by her years living abroad. Today she is using her love for multicultural locales to build an inclusive space for writers in Iowa City, offering not only workshops for writers of all levels and backgrounds but a new bicultural writing residency as well.

Faces of the City of Literature: John Kenyon









Many Iowa Citians know John Kenyon for his role as the Director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature and his former positions as a journalist for The Daily Iowan, Corridor Business Journal, and The Gazette. His ardor for literature goes far beyond his professional life; Kenyon is also a crime fiction writer and the editor of Grift Magazine, which features crime fiction short stories, reviews, and interviews.