Celebrating Finnegan’s Wake around the world


A project coordinated by the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature celebrates the 75th anniversary of James Joyce’s novel, Finnegan’s Wake, through a video collaboration among the seven Cities of Literature.

Short passages from Joyce’s challenging work were selected and presented to the Cities of Literature with an assignment: create a video that helps to bring the passage to life. The result is six short films based on these passages, gathered together and available to view.

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature partnered with Riverside Theatre and filmmaker Ben Hill to create a short contribution, based on a passage “Mutt and Jute” found early in the book. Actors Ron Clark and Patrick du Laney acted out the scene, filmed by Hill at Riverside’s Gilbert Street location.

The other participating cities were Edinburgh (Scotland), Melbourne (Australia), Reykjavik (Iceland), Norwich (England) and Krakow (Poland).

Where’s Waldo in Iowa City


Where’s Waldo? In Iowa City, of course. The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting forty-eight different local businesses throughout our community this July. Those who spot him can win prizes, including stickers, book coupons and more. Waldo figures will be well hidden in local business establishments from Revival to The Record Collector to McDonald Optical to Ewers Men’s Store to Active Endeavors to Beadology to many, many others.  FIND WALDO is a great summer vacation activity, and a wonderful way for residents to support local business.

Look for the FIND WALDO HERE! window cling on the doors of participating businesses, spot Waldo in the store and collect an “I Found Waldo At…..” card. Collecting cards at ten or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers to entry in a grand prize drawing on July 31 for an assortment of WHERE’S WALDO? titles, with the top prizes being a six-volume deluxe set of Waldo books. Cards can be turned in at either Iowa Book or Prairie Lights.

WHERE’S WALDO is the creation of Martin Handford, whose entertaining drawings of crowd scenes swept the world in 1987. Since then, the WHERE’S WALDO books have held a cherished spot on bookstore shelves the world over. There are now over 58 million Waldo books in print worldwide and they’ve been translated into eighteen languages. An entire generation has grown up searching for Waldo and his cast of wandering companions.

In celebration of Waldo’s longevity and popularity, his American publisher, Candlewick Press, is once again teaming up with the American Booksellers Association and 265 independent bookstores all across the country, including Iowa Book and Prairie Lights for some hide-and-seek fun as well as to encourage communities to patronize their local businesses. There is no charge to participate, and the hunt lasts for the entire month of July. For more information about FIND WALDO in Iowa City, contact Matthew Lage at Iowa Book (319-337-4188) or Kathleen Johnson at 319-337-2681.

Little Free Libraries find homes in Wellington Heights

LFL build

Community and neighborhood organizations are working together with volunteers and generous donors to place 25 Little Free Libraries in front yards throughout the Wellington Heights neighborhood of Cedar Rapids.  Little Free Libraries are sturdy, colorful, hand-built boxes full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.  In addition to making it easier for kids to access books, organizers hope neighbors will meet around the little libraries to talk about stories they’ve read.  The libraries are built by a crew at Knutson Construction.  The effort is being led by City of Literature board member Tim Terry, co-founder and partner with Terry, Lockridge & Dunn and World Trend Financial.  More information about this initiative can be found here.

City of Literature readers are tops!


A recent poll conducted by Iowa City Public Library planning consultants indicates that readers in our City of Literature read an average of 24 books per year, that’s twice the national average!  You can read more about the library planning process and results in the latest City Council Information Packet.

Announcing the 2014 City of Literature Paul Engle Prize


The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization is now accepting nominations for its annual Paul Engle Prize. This award honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts. The prize is sponsored by the City of Coralville.

Paul Engle (October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991), though best remembered as the long-time director of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and founder of the UI’s International Writing Program, also was a well-regarded poet, playwright, essayist, editor and critic.

The award seeks to recognize a writer, like Engle, who makes an impact on his or her community and the world at large through efforts beyond the page. It also seeks to raise awareness about Engle and his works.

Past recipients are James Alan McPherson, a longtime instructor at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Elbow Room; and Kwame Dawes, Chancellor Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, and Glenna Luschel Editor of Prairie Schooner.

The prize will be awarded on Oct. 4 as part of the 2014 Iowa City Book Festival. The recipient will be presented a specially designed plaque and a check for $10,000, and will be featured in a special edition of the City of Literature’s “On the Fly: Writers on Writing” video interview series. The award will be announced on the City of Literature’s web site and through other communication channels.

To nominate a writer for this award, please submit a nomination form, a resume or CV (including a list of published works) and endorsements or letters of support from those who can attest to the nominee’s qualifications for the award. Note: the prize winner must be available for the October 4 presentation in Iowa City.

Nominations are due by July 1. They will be reviewed by a pre-selected panel, and the winner will be announced by August 15.

Click here to download a nomination form.