The Iowa Writers' Workshop in The Atlantic Monthly

In the 2007 fiction issue of Atlantic Monthly, Edward J. Delaney addresses graduate writing programs, including The Iowa Writers' Workshop, with his article "Where Great Writers are Made" . In a separate interview with the article's author, Delaney specifically addresses The Writers’ Workshop and its sense of community, learning opportunities and faculty:


“The people there [at The Iowa Writers' Workshop] – as at a lot of the schools that are away from the hustle and bustle of the big city—really focus on building a community. Chris Tilghman at Virginia observed that one of the most difficult things to measure is a program’s sense of community. When the workshop ends, you’ve gotten a certain amount of progress. But does everyone then go to dinner together and continue the discussion that was begun in the workshop? Schools such as Montana and the University of Pittsburgh and Virginia and Iowa really spent a lot of time talking about the community they feel they’ve built; whereas in a larger city, it’s a little more difficult. People tend to go their separate ways. Community is part of what has made Iowa work."

"Another interesting factor about Iowa is that it has looser requirements than a lot of other programs. But there’s also a lot of open-ended stuff that goes on constantly. For example, while I was there, Charles Baxter spoke. He did a reading in the evening and then the next morning he did a Q&A. And those events were absolutely jam-packed. From what I gathered, that’s how it always is; the people in The Workshop never want to miss a learning opportunity, even if it’s not a formal class."

"Iowa’s faculty is a tremendous group of people. I’m a fan of virtually all of them. Overall, I think it really goes back to that basic name recognition. If everyone knows that Iowa is where you go if you want to be a writer, then it’s going to continue to get applications from people who are the most ambitious. So they do have that ability to select and bring together a really top-notch group.”


Read the entire interview with Edward J. Delaney at The Atlantic online.

Read Edward J. Delaney’s article "Where Great Writers are Made" in the 2007 Fiction issue of The Atlantic Monthly or read it online at The Atlantic online (available for subscribers only.)