Iowa City certainly will live up to its designation as a UNESCO City of Literature this year during the Iowa City Book Festival, taking place October 2-5.
Among the four-day literary festival’s highlights: Pulitzer Prize novelists Marilynne Robinson and Jane Smiley will both debut hot-off-the-press releases: Robinson, an Iowa City resident who teaches at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa, will launch Lila, a continuation of the family saga she began with Home, on October 3 at an evening event in the Englert Theatre. Local bookseller Prairie Lights will sell Lila, which officially pubs on October 7. Smiley, who holds a Ph.D in English literature from the University of Iowa, will read from Some Lucky, her first return to writing about Iowa farm families since A Thousand Acres (1991), on Sunday, Oct. 5, at an afternoon event. Some Lucky also officially pubs on Oct. 7.
The festival begins on October 2 with crime novelist James Ellroy reading from and discussing his new novel, Perfidia, a September release. Dozens of national and regional authors will be participating in this year’s festival, including a contingent from Dublin, Ireland, also a UNESCO City of Literature. A full schedule can be found on the festival's website. The festival is organized by City of Literature USA, a local literacy organization.
Iowa City was named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2008. It is one of seven Cities of Literature worldwide, and the only one in the U.S.