What Midwest city was named a world City of Literature by UNESCO in 2008? What city has blocks of sidewalk paved with bronze plaques bearing the words of writers? Iowa City, Iowa!
While the state of Iowa does not have a lot of authors’ homes or museums to visit, it does have the gold mine of the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Writers Workshop, which officially opened in the l930’s, has summer workshops for serious writers and an advanced degree program. Well-known writers like Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, and John Irving have studied here. Canadian writer W.P. Kinsella, whose novel, Shoeless Joe, was adapted into the movie Field of Dreams, is a graduate of the program.
Iowa City celebrates its literary links with a unique and fun feature – the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, located along a stretch of city blocks. The walk features bronze plaques which each have a quote from one of the 49 major writers associated with Iowa.
Visit Prairie Lights bookstore to purchase The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk booklet before visiting the famed sidewalks. (Don’t forget to leave some time to browse this great bookstore and check out their historic cafe.) The booklet is a detailed guide to Iowa City’s literary “walk of fame” and describes each writer’s history and connection to Iowa. It is fun to walk the blocks of Iowa Avenue, stopping to read the plaque of each of the 49 writers featured there. Walking through town you will find all kinds of restaurants, bookstores, and buildings which are connected to the literary history of the city. You won’t get bored anytime soon. . .
This is the second stop on our Iowa Trail!
Rebecca Blake Beech