Spring, 2023


Writer, hello! 

Here in Iowa City, we're pedaling fast and furiously in preparation for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival's return to campus in July.

Look out, town, we're coming back, and we plan to make a spectacle.

We're breathless with excitement to gather here again. We can't wait to welcome you, whether you're returning to the Festival or joining us for the first time. We pine for our people.

In these pages, you'll find sixty-six workshops that explore the genres in their reaches. These include workshops in the novel, novella, short story, essay, and memoir; in poems, playwriting, flash fiction, micro nonfiction, and autofiction; in spiritual writing, travel writing, writing around the edges, writing about family, and, not least, writing outrageous bullshit (it's true).

While we have an eager eye toward July, we continue to launch new online worskhops throughout the year. We're inspired by the opportunity the online initiative gives us to offer workshops and other programming in every season, in a variety of formats, to longtime friends and to brand new friends all over the world.

Since 1987, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival has welcomed to The University of Iowa writers from 18 to 98 years of age, from all 50 states, and from every continent. Most of us come to the workshop table from other areas of expertise, other lives. These include the armed forces, business, diplomacy, education, farming, homemaking, journalism, law, law enforcement, medicine, parenting, pastoral care, the performing arts, social services, and more. We come together across the genres, the generations, and at every level of literary practice in a common enterprise. We come as writers. This is the only assumption we make about each other, whether we arrive here with the third draft of our novel, a message in a bottle, or merely a bee in our bonnet.

As part of the Magid Center for Writing, the Festival links arms with the Certificate in Writing, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, and the Iowa Youth Writing Project—a multi-generational, cross-disciplinary citizenry in love with the written word, from kindergartners to retirees. We’re thrilled to keep such kindred company.

As a writing program, the Festival is proud to belong to Iowa City—a UNESCO City of Literature in the Creative Cities Network. Iowa City has long been a haven for writers, and The University of Iowa our ancestral home. The rich literary legacy that belongs to this place abides today in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Playwrights Workshop, the International Writing Program, the Spanish Creative Writing Program, the Translation Workshop, the Carver College of Medicine’s Writing and Humanities Program, the undergraduate Major in English and Creative Writing, Between the Lines: The Writing Experience, the Irish Writing Program, the Iowa Center for the Book, The University of Iowa Press, The Iowa Review, and The Examined Life Journal.

Some years ago, Iowa City dedicated the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, which celebrates in bronze relief panels some of the singular voices that have come together here, from Flannery O’Connor and Kurt Vonnegut to John Irving and James Tate. Everything here is closely observe--now, even the sidewalks.

The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is an opportunity for you to share your work in a community that wishes it well.

Get your coffee and pull up a chair. We have so much to talk about!

Amy Margolis

Amy Margolis