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Chris Merril, Faculty member and director of the International Writing Program, speaking at a gathering at Shambaugh House
    Remarkable reputation

There’s a reason Iowa City remains a talent search magnet for editors and literary agents—The University of Iowa’s illustrious writing programs continue to turn out promising authors, literary prize winners, and even the occasional best seller.

For many young writers, Iowa offers the opportunity to develop a first novel, memoir, play, or poetry collection in an environment that reveres the written word. Established writers, too, find a haven here—a temporary home, a place to share the lessons they’ve learned, and a sanctuary for creating new work.

Iowa’s reputation as the “Writing University” goes back to 1936 and the debut of the nation’s first creative writing degree. That program, known today as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has since been joined by pioneering programs in nonfiction, drama, and other forms.

Iowa’s International Writing Program draws writers from around the world and helps many of them introduce their work to American readers. Meanwhile, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio welcome people of all ages, professions, and backgrounds to the writing life through classes led by seasoned writers and Writers’ Workshop graduates.

This fall, UI undergraduates can apply to a new creative writing track in the Department of English. Such innovations build upon the University’s literary heritage and support a recent proposal to make Iowa City one of two places in the world dubbed a City of Literature by the United Nations Education, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

It’s no surprise that the University of Iowa community tempts back so many writers who got their start here, whether for short-term respites or longer stays. Its literary history—and its ongoing promise—are truly unique.

The Writing University
Iowa Writers’ Workshop
International Writing Program
Nonfiction Writing Program
Playwrights Workshop
Iowa Summer Writing Festival
Young Writers’ Studio

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