Literature

iowa city
Kris / flickr

The Trump administration announced Thursday it is leaving UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural organization, but Iowa City still expects to keep its designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

City of Literature Executive Director John Kenyon says he is "profoundly disappointed" by the decision, but he does not believe this will change Iowa City’s designation.

"Our relationship is directly with UNESCO as a city," Kenyon says. "The designation was conferred upon Iowa City by UNESCO directly, so I don’t see a way that this would have an impact on that."

Flickr / Jim Forest

Some of the brightest stars from Iowa City’s literary community will give readings at the Englert Theatre on Sunday afternoon to raise money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and the Virgin Islands.

All money raised will go directly to the American Red Cross. Tickets are by donation, with the suggested level of $10. Readings will be given by more than a dozen writers, including Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson, Iowa’s first poet laureate Marvin Bell and Lan Samantha Chang, who is the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

New Book Highlights Experience of 25 Women Farmers

Sep 28, 2017
Image courtesy of Barbara Hall

In 2017, women own more than half of the land in Iowa, and more women are farming that land. The new book Women and the Land, written by Barbara Hall and photographed by Kathryn Gamble, details the historical relationship between the women and the land of Iowa. Hall discusses the inspiration for the book, which serendipitously comes from an Iowa Public Radio broadcast she heard in 2014.

International Writing Program Turns 50

Sep 20, 2017
Credit Ben Kieffer

The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is one of the university's signature programs, attracting notable authors from across the world and establishing both the university and Iowa City as paramount to the future of American literature. 

Since 1967, over 1,400 writers from more than 150 countries have come to Iowa. International Writing Program director Christopher Merrill explains how the program came about.

Rachel.Adams / Flickr

Great advancements in technology certainly assist everyday life, but these advancements often inflict people with dread.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with two novelists, Benjamin Percy and Alissa Nutting, who reflect these anxieties in their work.

Charity Nebbe

The Civil War is the deadliest war in American history, with hundreds of thousands of casualties suffered by both the Union and Confederate sides.

In Some of Our Yesterdays, a memoir posthumously unearthed by the family of Charles Seton Lindsay, the Civil War experience is vividly told by Lindsay, who fought for the Union as a teenager after enlisting against his family's wishes. He recalls the horrors of battle he witnessed in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Courtesy of the Gable Family

Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable has been a household name in Iowa for decades. After bringing home three state wrestling championships in high school, he went on to the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he successfully wrestled without losing a single point. He famously coached the University of Iowa team to win 15 NCAA titles before retiring after the 1997 season. Since then he has continued to coach and has been actively working to keep Olympic and collegiate wrestling alive and thriving.

Vivian Chen / flickr

The way women communicate with their friends can be subtle but powerful. Georgetown University professor of linguistics Deborah Tannen studies interpersonal relationships and communication patterns between women and the ways in which they differ from those of men. These differences can often be frustrating to those involved.

IPR’s 2017 Summer Book List

Jun 12, 2017
Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

The summer months can be a great time of the year to crack open a new book. During this hour on Talk of Iowa, Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Book Store in Iowa City and Kathy Magruder from Pageturners Book Store in Indianola join host Charity Nebbe to discuss both their new and classic book recommendations to add to your summer reading list.

FICTION:

Jan's picks:

Do Not Become Alarmed—Maile Meloy

iowa city
Kris / flickr

Iowa City has been selected to host a meeting of the world’s UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Delegates from all over the world will be in town for a three-day meeting in 2018. Past meetings have been held in Barcelona, Dublin and Heidelberg, Germany.

City of Literature Executive Director John Kenyon says it’s an opportunity to show off Iowa City and highlight what makes it a City of Literature.

Marcelo Noah / flickr

During this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Fmr. U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins about his latest work and his writing style. He admits that despite common perceptions about poetry, his poems don’t contain much rhyming.

 

“I write with my ear. I want to make poems sound good and there are lots of ways to do that without having a formal rhyme. Charles Wright defined poetry as, ‘language that means more and sounds better,' and I really think those are the two ingredients. Poetry just sounds better than non-poetry.”

robert james waller
Courtesy of Scott Cawelti

Iowa-born author Robert James Waller has died in Texas at the age of 77. He wrote “The Bridges of Madison County,” which topped the New York Times bestseller list in 1993.

The book was turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Waller wrote the novel, which was his first, after photographing covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa.

Scott Cawelti, a longtime friend of Waller, said he died of complications related to cancer. 

RDECOM / flickr

For most of us middle school is the most awkward time of life. Kevin Brockmeier has plunged back into this difficult years with his new memoir, A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe revisits middle school with Brockmeier.

Later in the program, Director of the Iowa Youth Writing Project, Dora Malech, talks about the importance of getting kids writing, along with some tips and best practices.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

Laura Ingalls Wilder completed the original draft of her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in the spring of 1930. It was never published, but it led to one of the most beloved series of books of all time.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is finally in print. Editor Pamela Smith Hill has painstakingly researched that original draft, sharing light on the events that Wilder wrote about, and painting a picture about a remarkable family that lived through momentous times.

Ronald van Holst

In her best-selling novels, Amy Tan has explored mother-daughter relationships that resonate across all cultures.

In her latest novel, The Valley of Amazement, she does it again. In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Tan about her latest novel, the photo that inspired it, and writing her very first sex scenes.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

Laura Ingalls Wilder completed the original draft of her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in the spring of 1930. It was never published, but it led to one of the most beloved series of books of all time.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is finally in print. Editor Pamela Smith Hill has painstakingly researched that original draft, sharing light on the events that Wilder wrote about, and painting a picture about a remarkable family that lived through momentous times.

AP

Billy Collins has been called "America's favorite poet," and the former Poet Laureate will be visiting Iowa.

Fred Locklear

Benjamin Percy's novel Red Moon is a coming of age story, with razor sharp political commentary, an inventive rewriting of human history, the science of animal borne pathogens, and good old fashioned horror.

Steev Hise

Iowa is a destination for many aspiring writers from around the world, but the state has also been the origin of many gifted authors.

Emily Woodbury / Iowa Public Radio

A clerihew is a four-line biographical poem invented by Edward Clerihew Bentley. Paul Ingram, who buys books for Prairie Lights Book Store in Iowa City, says he’s been writing them down for years “when they come to him.”

You know Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights is his Kingdom, Where the lost shopper stands While Paul talks with his hands - Charity Nebbe

He’s just published many of those in his first book “The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram.” He talks with Charity Nebbe during this Talk of Iowa interview about clerihew as a form of verse and also shares some of his favorites. 

Wikimedia Commons

Summer brings with it many pleasures, and if you’re lucky one of those is the time to dig into a great book.  During this hour on Talk of Iowa, Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Book Store in Iowa City and Annie Leonard of The Next Chapter in Knoxville join host Charity Nebbe. 

FICTION:

 My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner

Norwegian by Night by Derek E. Miller

higginskurt

Iowa Writer's Workshop alumnus Eric Bennett's article, "How Iowa Flattened Literature" in the Chronicle of Higher Education has ruffled feathers—especially in Iowa's writing community.  The first paragraph of the article reads: 

Candlewick Press

George Bernard Shaw said, “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Annie Leonard of The Next Chapter in Knoxville, Sue Davis of River Lights Bookstore in Dubuque and Jerri Heid of the Ames Public Library about the year's best books to be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart.  You can find the full list below.

Picture Books

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard, Illustrated by David Slonim - "Lots of cute poems and great pictures." - Annie Leonard

Bart Teeuwisse

Margaret Atwood has published more than 40 books, achieved critical and commercial success, and touched millions of lives. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Atwood about her latest book, MaddAddam. They also discuss her work, evolution, extinction, her dislike for the term science fiction, and her love of twitter.

mikepaceenterprises.com

Mike Pace is probably best known as the former emcee for the Powerball drawings.  He also has been the host of the Iowa Realty Sunday Home Show in central Iowa, and he has a weekly radio show on KRNT.  Join host Charity Nebbe for a talk with Mike Pace about his new collection of poetry, Dreams and Detours: Reflecting on the Souvenirs of a Lifetime.

Callum Scott

Madeline L’Engle once said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”  Join host Charity Nebbe on Talk of Iowa to hear about the power of books for young readers and to hear about the books that helped to shape you in your youth.  Guests are Maeve Clark and Vickie Pasicnyuk from the Iowa City Public Library, and Coordinator of the Iowa Center for the Book Robin Martin. 

The Curve Of The World

Jul 23, 2013
Bottom Dog Press

Iowa Citian Andy Douglas has published his memoir, The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga. When he was in his 20s, Douglas turned aside from his minister father’s Christian beliefs and took up a life of yoga and meditation, eventually going on to becoming an Ananda Marga monk, leading the organization’s Seoul office. We hear about his life as a monk and his eventual return to the United States to fight Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Grand Central Publishing

Benjamin Percy's new novel "Red Moon" is a coming of age story, with razor sharp political commentary, an inventive rewriting of human history, the science of animal borne pathogens, and good old fashioned horror.  Host Charity Nebbe and Percy discusses his arduous research process which took him to the veterinary labs of Iowa State University and taxidermy shops.

Summer Reading

May 23, 2013
Sarah Boden / IPR

Summer brings with it many pleasures, and one of those pleasures is the time to dig into a great book.  Host Charity Nebbe previews books for summer reading lists with Paul Ingram and Jan Weismiller of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City and Annie Leonard of The Next Chapter bookstore in Knoxville. 

Flickr / ChrisWarren1956

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