Hot Tin Roof Accepting Submissions for Fall 2015

Hot Tin Roof

Iowa City Writers: City of Literature would like to remind you that submissions for Hot Tin Roof are open now through June 30, 2015 for publication in the fall. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.

Hot Tin Roof is a program supported by the City of Literature in conjunction with the Englert Theater and Little Village Magazine. The program seeks to promote literary work currently being produced in Iowa City by local writers. Named after the famous work by former Iowa City resident and University of Iowa undergraduate Tennessee Williams, Hot Tin Roof honors the literary history of Iowa City by ensuring its further continuation and enrichment.

Entrants should submit a work of creative fiction up to 1,000 words in length. Poems, short stories and more are welcome. Winning entries will be published monthly in Little Village Magazine, with the winning author receiving a $100 prize in addition to the publication of their work within the magazine. Further guidelines for submitting to Hot Tin Roof can be found at Little Village Magazine’s website at

Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with the literary community of Iowa City by submitting your writing today!

Paul Engle essay contest now open to Iowa high school sophomores


The City of Literature organization’s annual Paul Engle: Glory of the Senses high school sophomore essay contest is now open to submissions.

The contest seeks essays from current Iowa high school sophomores, and is inspired by the writings of Paul Engle, a long time director of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and co-founder of the UI’s International Writing Program.

In his autobiography A Lucky American Childhood, Paul Engle describes his Iowa upbringing and how it helped him to grow from the son of a horse trainer in the heartland to a poet and professor of international reputation.   More than merely keeping a record of locations and events, Engle uses sensory detail to evoke his experience, to recreate it for the reader.

 In the chapter entitled “The Glory of the Senses”, Engle addresses each of the senses in turn to bring to life the Iowa of his youth.  He revels in “the smell of wood and coal [that] burned the kitchen air” and the “healthy sound … of a horse’s broad teeth grinding grain”, experiences that were common to a young person growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century in Iowa.  He recalls the accents of the Czech, German, Irish, and Russian immigrants whose “speech had not yet become homogenized by radio and television…trying hard to communicate with these strange Americans,” sounds that mirrored the combination of heritages that comprise the American quilt.  As he watches the spectacle of a cattle drive down Fifth Avenue in Cedar Rapids, the animals “snorting, frightened of the city, tossing their horns, trampling the lawns, a furious animal force…,” Engle says he “learned from them, as I watched their massive motion, the power of mass,” as the “thousand-pound beef animals look at you with their oval, liquid eyes…”

 The contest asks students to consider their own Iowa experience, and to write an essay in which they choose a single, specific Iowa memory to write into life using details that evoke the sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch of that memory.

The author of the essay judged by reviewers to be the best will receive one year of free tuition to the University of Iowa. A select number of runners up will receive a $500 scholarship from the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.

 Essays may be submitted to the competition by emailing them as an MSWord attachment on or before May 15, 2015 to Please put “Paul Engle Day Student Essay Contest submission” in the subject line. All submissions must include the cover sheet found on p. 6 of this packet.

News from the Great Wide World: Ralph Ellison and the Cultural Ambassadors of Jazz

In celebration of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day, the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature presents an event that celebrates the intersection of jazz with the work of the writer Ralph Ellison. Horace Porter, F. Wendell Miller Professor of English & American Studies at the University of Iowa, will discuss Ellison’s work. Throughout the program, a jazz ensemble will perform songs composed or made famous by jazz artists who connected with Ellison, including Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong. The ensemble includes Damani Phillips (saxophone), James Dreier (drums), Blake Shaw (bass), and Grace Leong (piano) from the University of Iowa School of Music.


Thursday April 30, noon to 1 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library. Music will be performed for 15 minutes before and after the program.


Co-presented by the University of Iowa School of Music and the Iowa City Public Library

All Iowa Reads 2015 selection: “My Name is Mary Sutter” by Robin Oliveira

The North Liberty Community Library will host All Iowa Reads author, Robin Oliveira, on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. This is a cultural partnership with Marion Public Library.

The purpose of All Iowa Reads is to foster a sense of unity through reading. Iowans are encouraged to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year. Libraries, book clubs, schools and other local organizations are encouraged to sponsor discussions of the title.

The 2015 selection is “My Name is Mary Sutter” by Robin Oliveira. This Civil War epic is about a young headstrong midwife determined to become a surgeon striving to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine. Fully drawn characters, family conflicts, the politics of war, and achieving humane medical care in the aftermath of violence are some of themes that will be at the center discussions among hundreds of Iowans during 2015.

Funds Available for Little Free Libraries


The weather is getting warmer, which means you might be thinking of fun outdoor projects for your home or neighborhood. If you live in Johnson County and you’ve ever considered building your own Little Free Library, now is the time. Limited resources are available for expenses related to the construction, installation and final registration of Little Free Libraries.

Completed LFLs must be installed and registered on the website before funds can be requested.  The fund is managed by the Altrusa International Club of Iowa City and the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature office, and is housed at the Community Foundation of Johnson Country.

Grants up to $75 are available for each LFL which has been built, installed and registered.

To apply for funds, please visit: and submit your information or call 319-887-6100.