The University of Iowa

In the news: World literature comes to Lit City

April 3rd, 2018

By Aadit Tambe, The Daily Iowan

One of only two UNESCO Cities of Literature in the Western Hemisphere, Iowa City has been chosen to host the 2018 annual meeting of UNESCO Cities of Literature on April 3-6.

“Delegates from all Cities of Literatures get together each year to talk about different projects,” said John Kenyon, the executive director of Iowa City City of Literature. “It will give us the opportunity to share [our] information to new cities [in the network].”

Iowa City was the third city in the world to be awarded the designation in 2008, and the event marks its 10th anniversary, he said. It will give the town a chance to showcase its rich literary culture.

“Being the first [City of Literature] in the New World testifies to [Iowa City’s] importance in the literary world,” said Christopher Merrill, the director of the International Writing Program.

The literary bent of the city is reflected across the town, including the “Literature Walk,” which celebrates works of 49 acclaimed writers who have ties to Iowa City, he said.

“It is a great honor for Iowa City to have the [City of Literature] designation and to be the only one in the United States, till the last fall,” said Jim Harris, the founder of Prairie Lights. “It’s euphoric [to host] so many Cities of Literatures.”