More than 120 student writers to be honored at One Book Two Book


The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization’s annual One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival will recognize the creative excellence of more than 120 area students over the course of the three-day festival, March 6-8.

The festival begins Friday, March 6, with the “Once Upon a Time” banquet. Each of 21 participating Iowa City-area elementary schools has selected one student to read a piece of original writing at the dinner.

In addition, students in Corridor districts were encouraged to submit one page of original writing. More than 800 students answered the call. Those submissions were evaluated by a team at Pearson in Iowa City, and the best of these were singled out for recognition.

In each grade, first through eighth, winners were selected in two categories. They are:

The Write Stuff, which is judged based on language, clarity, structure, and emotional impact.
From the Heart, judged based on creativity, passion, and expressiveness.

In addition, the Pearson team identified students each grade — for a total of 87 — whose writing was deemed worthy of honorable mention.

Click here for a full list of all of the students who will be recognized for their creative excellence during the festival.

One Book Two Book moves to March

CoL 1bk2bk post 2015

If you’ve been waiting for information about One Book Two Book, the annual celebration of children’s literature in the City of Literature, here’s the scoop—the date has changed! Traditionally held in January, the festival will be moving to March 6-8 in 2015. All events will be held in downtown Iowa City, based at the Sheraton Hotel.

Author and illustrator David LaRochelle will be visiting and sharing his work. He has written several picture books, including Moo!, It’s a Tiger, and The Best Pet of All, as well as a young adult novel, Absolutely, Postively Not. LaRochelle didn’t start out to be an author. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a balloon man or maybe a cartoonist like Charles Schulz. During college, his dreams shifted to becoming a Hallmark card illustrator, until he was told he didn’t draw well enough. He decided to become a teacher. While teaching elementary school, LaRochelle began writing for kids. With over 25 books published, LaRochelle now writes and illustrates full-time. Although he no longer teaches, he visits schools and libraries regularly to talk about his books. In his spare time, he is also a professional pumpkin carver, whose artistry has been featured on the Good Morning America show.

One Book Two Book will also feature additional authors, and the full line-up will be announced soon. Other activities will include special events to recognize local student authors, a children’s book fair, live entertainment, face painting, arts and crafts, and more. Kids will also get to meet other special guests—children’s book characters Frog & Toad, Martha from Martha Speaks, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Babymouse, and Geronimo Stilton. It will be a fun-filled weekend, so get out those brand new 2015 calendars and save the dates for One Book Two Book!

Submit to Hot Tin Roof


Hot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in Iowa City. Each month, a selected piece under 1,000 words is published in Little Village, and the author receives a $100 honorarium.

The series takes its name from a famous play and movie by former Iowa City resident Tennessee Williams, who graduated from the University of Iowa in 1938. He was chosen as the patron saint of this series because his artistic life refused to be confined to work in any one genre. Moreover, it seemed right, given the many acclaimed writers to have lived and worked in Iowa City, to honor one who, at the time, was a relatively obscure undergraduate.

Dec. 31 marks the last day to submit for Hot Tin Roof’s Spring 2015 season.

Poetry in Public 2015


Now in its 11th year, Iowa City’s Poetry in Public project is accepting poetry submissions from writers of all ages. Published and unpublished poets in Johnson County are invited to submit their poems for consideration. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

Poetry in Public celebrates Iowa City’s rich literary tradition and local writing talent by displaying poems by writers of all ages in City buses, downtown kiosks, Iowa City Recreation buildings and other public facilities from April (National Poetry Month) through the fall.

Click here for more information.

Prague, Heidelberg, Granada and Dunedin named Cities of Literature

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network has grown to 69 cities with the addition of 28 new cities across the seven thematic areas. Of those 28, four are new Cities of Literature:

Prague, Czech Republic
Heidelberg, Germany
Granada, Spain
Dunedin, New Zealand

They join existing Cities of Literature Edinburgh, Scotland; Melbourne, Australia; Iowa City; Dublin, Ireland; Norwich, England; and Krakow Poland.

Other cities newly named to the network are:

Design: Bilbao (Spain), Curitiba (Brazil), Dundee (UK), Helsinki (Finland), Turin (Italy)
Film: Busan (Republic of Korea), Galway (Ireland), Sofia (Bulgaria)
Media Arts: Dakar (Senegal), Gwangju (Republic of Korea), Linz (Austria), Tel Aviv-Yafo (Israel), York (UK)
Gastronomy: Florianopolis (Brazil), Shunde (China), Tsuruoka (Japan)
Music: Hamamatsu (Japan), Hanover (Germany), Mannheim (Germany)
Crafts & Folk Arts: Jacmel (Haiti), Jingdezhen (China), Nassau (Bahamas), Pekalongan (Indonesia), Suzhou (China)

Iowa City; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Paducah, Kentucky, remain the only Creative Cities Network members in the United States.

“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a tremendous tool for cooperation, it reflects our commitment to support an amazing creative and innovative potential to broaden the avenues of sustainable development,” said UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova.

By joining the Network, cities commit to collaborate and develop partnerships with a view to promoting creativity and cultural industries, to share best practices, to strengthen participation in cultural life, and to integrate culture in economic and social development plans.

The Network covers seven thematic areas: Craft and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. It aims to promote international cooperation and encourage the sharing of experiences and resources in order to promote local development through culture and creativity.