About the Exhibit

'A Community of Writers'

Creative Writing at The University of Iowa

In the autumn of 2007, the exhibition "A Community of Writers: Creative Writing at the University of Iowa" opened at the Old Capitol Museum in Iowa City, displaying how diverse personalities and historical circumstances combined to make the University of Iowa "The Writing University". This year-long exhibit is an interactive homage to the writing programs, providing a chronological overview of the five leading creative writing programs at the University as well as the closely related Center for the Book.

Iowa City
Flannery O'Connor while attending the Writer's Workshop during the winter in Iowa City

Some of the most acclaimed writers of the last century have spent time in Iowa City. Drawn by the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the programs that have branched from it, they have written the books that line our libraries' shelves.

Iowa City
Paul Engle writing in Iowa City

Among the fiction writers who have been students or faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop are John Irving, The World According to Garp; Marilynne Robinson, Gilead; Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five; Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint; and Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres. Workshop graduate and faculty poets have won fifteen Pulitzer Prizes and included four recent U.S. Poet Laureates. And the playwrights—most notably Tennessee Williams, author of Streetcar Named Desire, and, more recently, recipients of theatre and television’s top writing awards.

Iowa City doesn’t only attract American writers. In 1951, the celebrated Welsh poet Dylan Thomas spent several weeks in Iowa City where he gave a reading in the Old Capitol’s Senate Chambers to a packed audience. A tradition of inviting international writers to the Writers’ Workshop grew into one of the world’s great diplomatic ventures, the International Writing Program. The 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to one of the IWP's graduates, the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk.

The exhibit will be on display in the Old Capitol Museum until October 2008. Visitors are welcome to explore and view the exhibit during museum hours:
>>Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
>>Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
>>Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Map and Directions to the Old Capitol Museum

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