Programs and Events

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature host four annual events.

World Book and Copyright Day – The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23 April, Saint George’s Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold.   UNESCO celebrates World Book & Copyright Day in an effort to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.

Iowa City Book Festival – The Iowa City Book Festival is presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. Iowa City is the only “City of Literature” in the United States, and the Iowa City Book Festival will celebrate books and writing by leveraging the unique mix of local resources that helped to earn that designation. Partners like the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop and International Writing ProgramFilmScene, the Mission Creek Festival, will offer programming. This, along with a selection of nationally prominent authors, will provide an exciting and enlightening line-up of events and programs that put literature of all kinds in the spotlight.

Paul Engle Day – Paul Engle (October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991), noted American poet, editor, teacher, literary critic, novelist, and playwright. He is perhaps best remembered as the long-time director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and as founder of the International Writing Program (IWP), both at the University of Iowa. At the turn of the millennium, Engle was selected as Iowa’s poet of the century, and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack proclaimed October 12 “Paul Engle Day” in Iowa.

One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival – A celebration of children’s literature in the City of Literature.


Hot Tin Roof Writing Contest – Hot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in Iowa City. Each month a selected piece of creative writing up to 1,000 words will be published in the pages of Little Village, Iowa City’s News and Culture Magazine.