The University of Iowa

Mission Creek Lit Coming at You

The eighth annual Mission Creek Festival is proud to announce its full slate of literary events alongside the full lineup of musicians and artists performing from April 2nd to 7th, 2013. As always, writers, small presses, and literary journals from across the country will appear alongside acts such as Grizzly Bear, Divine Fits, Deerhoof, Tig Notaro, Killer Mike, Iris Dement, JEFF The Brotherhood, Pallbearer, Janeane Garofalo, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Owen Pallet (of Final Fantasy), Exitmusic, Ducktails, White Lung, Mister Lies, Ital, Joe Pug, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, William Basinski, Julianna Barwick, and many more—including marquee food events and in-store performances throughout the week.

This year, the literary lineup includes more than eighteen events, a small press and literary magazine book fair, two writers-in-residence, a lit crawl, poetry rock show, and a spoken word performance straight from LA and NYC. In all, over 80 authors and 40 presses and magazines will participate, including authors Aleksandar Hemon, Roxane Gay, Cornelius Eady, Patricia Smith, Beau Sia, Matt Hart, Mary Jo Bang, Amelia Gray, Lara Glenum, Matt Bell, Aase Berg, Johannes Göransson, Janaka Stucky, Feng Sun Chen, Rauan Klassnik, Susanne Scanlon, Jac Jemc, Jensen Beach, Eleni Sikelianos, Rachel McKibbens, Eileen Pollack, and many more writers from Iowa City, the Midwest, and across the country.

All readings are free and open to the public:

For more, check out the festival’s website at:

For tickets:

For all inquiries, please contact Nathan Gould at nathan [at] englert [dot] org

Full list of literary events:


Roxane Gay & John D’Agata

Apr 2 / Prairie Lights / 7pm / FREE


Roxane Gay comes to Iowa City as a Mission Creek Festival Writer-in-Residence. One of contemporary literature’s most prolific contributors, Roxane’s works have garnered fourteen Pushcart nominations the last three years, publishing her fiction and essays in such venues as VQR, American Short Fiction, McSweeney’s, Melville House, mud luscious, The Wall Street Journal, and about two dozen other places. She frequently contributes to HTMLGIANT, Salon, The Rumpus, Bookslut, and is a notorious Twitter presence HERE. Roxane is the co-editor of [PANK] Magazine, as well as essays editor for The Rumpus. Her novel, An Untamed State, will be published by Grove Atlantic and her essay collection, Bad Feminist, will be published by Harper Perennial, both in 2014. She kicks off this year’s reading series alongside John D'Agata, author of the books About a Mountain, Halls of Fame, and The Lifespan of a Fact, and editor of two anthologies on the essay. Up next? John is currently completing a collaboration with the Belgian painter Jean-Baptiste Bernadet entitled On Knowing Not, forthcoming next year. These two renowned, genre-crossing writers will read from their work alongside the Englert Theater’s Executive Director, and UI Nonfiction Writing Program alum, Andre Perry.


Tuesday Agency Presents: Writing Industry Roundtable w/[PANK] Magazine and Black Ocean Press

April 3 / Brix Wine & Cheese Shop / 5pm / FREE


Editors Roxane Gay ([PANK] Magazine) and Janaka Stucky (Black Ocean Press) join Trinity Ray of the Iowa City-based Tuesday Agency (Speaking agents representing Colson Whitehead, Ann Patchett, Khaled Hosseini, Jon Ronson & more) to talk all things writing industry, publishing, and public sphere.


Eileen Pollack & Jen Percy

Apr 3 / Prairie Lights / 7pm / FREE


Eileen Pollack, a professor at the University of Michigan’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, is the author of one book of creative nonfiction, two novels, two collections of short fiction and a children's book about AIDS. Her work is widely published and has also appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She will read with Jen Percy, whose nonfiction book Demon Camp, is forthcoming from Scribner.


Michael Zapruder's Pink Thunder

Apr 3 / The Mill / 9pm / $10


Pink Thunder is a record. Pink Thunder is a book of poems. Pink Thunder is an art show featuring the work of 23 poets, illustrated and hand-lettered, and all set to music. A collaboration between the poets (such as D.A. Powell, David Berman, Matthew Zapruder, Joshua Beckman, Matthew Rohrer, James Tate, Mary Ruefle, Dara Weir & more), musician Michael Zapruder, and Black Ocean Press, Pink Thunder will be read and performed at Mission Creek Festival. Readings by Black Ocean Editor Janaka Stucky will accompany Michael's performance. Iowa band Christopher the Conquered will open, and support.


Cave Canem Reading: feat. Cornelius Eady & Kiki Petrosino

Apr 4 / Clinton Street Social Club / 5pm / FREE


Co-Founder of Cave Canem, a national organization supporting African American poetry and poets, Cornelius Eady visits Mission Creek on the heels of his recent jazz/poetry release Asking for the Moon. He is the author of several books of poetry, garnering him an NAACP Image Award, the Academy of American Poets’ Lamont Prize, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. His work has also been adapted for the stage, including the Obie Award-winning Running Man (1999). Cornelius will be joined by local jazz musicians, one member of the Cave Canem family and Writers’ Workshop alum Kiki Petrosino.


Mary Jo Bang & Eleni Sikelianos

Apr 4 / Prairie Lights / 7pm / FREE


Poet Mary Jo Bang returns to Iowa City to read, we hope, from her recent translation of Dante’s Inferno (featuring the likes of Eric Cartman, John Wayne Gacy and the Rolling Stones). She is the author of numerous collections of poetry including Apology for Want, Louise in Love, The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans, The Bride of E, and Elegy, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bellagio Foundation. She is currently a professor at the University of Washington in St. Louis. Eleni Sikelianos has published six collections of poetry including Body Clock, The California Poem, and The Monster Lives of Boys and Girls, winner of the 2002 National Poetry Series, as well as a memoir, The Book of Jon. She is currently the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Denver.


Lit Crawl

Apr 5 / Downtown Iowa City / 5-8pm / FREE


For full lit crawl lineup, stay tuned to:


5-5:45pm – M.C. Ginsberg, Dublin Underground, Takanami

6-6:45 – Beadology, White Rabbit, R.S.V.P.

7-7:45 – Foxhead, Clinton Street Social Club


Writers and publishers from across the country will invade downtown for three hours of readings featuring more than 60 authors representing over 15 publishers, including n+1, Vice Magazine, Coffee House Press, [PANK] Magazine, Dzanc Books, The Collagist, Spork Press, Black Ocean Press, Forklift Ohio, H_NGM_N, Rescue Press, Wag’s Revue, MAKE Magazine, UI Press and Green Lantern Press. This three-hour tour will take you across and into a number of Iowa City’s small businesses, where you’ll hear fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translations from some of today’s best writers, including Johannes Göransson, Lara Glenum, Dora Malech, Robyn Schiff, Amelia Gray, Matt Bell, Matt Hart, Sarah Fox, Chad Simpson, Suzanne Scanlon, Daniel Borzutsky, Nick Twemlow, M. Bartley Seigel, Matthew Guenette, Holly Amos, Carrie Lorig, Jeffrey Allen, Daniel Khalastchi, Feng Sun Chen, Aase Berg, Rauan Klassnik, Jac Jemc, Jensen Beach, Aaron Burch, and many, many more.

Lit Crawl Iowa City is co-presentation with the Litquake Foundation. San Francisco’s Litquake literary festival runs October 11-19, 2013, with annual Lit Crawls in San Francisco, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Seattle, Los Angeles, Iowa City, and Austin.


4th Annual Small Press and Literary Journal Book Fair

Apr 6 / The Mill / 11am-6pm / FREE

Presses large and small, literary magazines in print and online, from all corners of the U.S., once again gather at The Mill to sell some of the most exciting books being published today. Publishers and Editors will be on hand from Granta Magazine, Melville House Books, n+1, Cave Canem, A Strange Object, Milkweed Editions, Vice Magazine, Coffee House Press, [PANK] Magazine, POETRY Magazine, Sarabande Books, Dzanc Books, The Collagist, Spork Press, Black Ocean Press, Forklift Ohio, H_NGM_N, Rescue Press, Birds LLC, MAKE Magazine, Hobart, Perfect Day Publishing, jubilat, Canarium Books, Black Clock, The Iowa Review, UI Press, Wag’s Revue, The Doctor T.J. Eckleberg Review, Autumn Hill Books, The Examined Life,  Ninth Letter, Green Lantern Press, Uncanny Valley, Gold Quoin Press, Empyrean Press, Petri Press, Catenary Press, Anomalous Press, Strange Cage, Ink Lit Magazine, earthwords, Slow Collision, and many, many more. And once again, New Belgium Brewery will be handing out a selection of their newest brews.


Little Village & Slow Collision

Apr 6 / Gabe’s / 2pm / FREE

Iowa City’s own literary and cultural magazine Little Village co-hosts this reading with Iowa City-based press Slow Collision. Break up your afternoon with some locally-grown fiction from Vic Pasternak, Brent Johnson, and Todd Jackson.



Granta Magazine and UI Center for Human Rights Present: Aleksandar Hemon

Apr 6 / The Mill / 6 pm / FREE

Granta Magazine will once again host a reading directly following the Book Fair, this year by Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon. In Iowa City as part of The University of Iowa’s Provosts’ Global Forum: Refugees in the Heartland, Aleksandar will come to the festival following the publication of his genre-straddling The Book of My Lives. His other books include the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist The Lazarus Project (2008), Nowhere Man (2002), among others and his work is often featured in The New Yorker, Esquire and The Paris Review. Joining him are poet Amber Tamblyn and fiction writer Dina Nayeri.


earthwords: UI Undergraduate Lit Magazine Issue Release

Apr 6 / Prairie Lights / 7pm / FREE

Each year, earthwords, the University of Iowa’s oldest undergraduate literary magazine, releases an issue featuring the best in undergraduate fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, photography, and art. This reading will feature students writers published in this year’s magazine, as well as artwork on display all festival week at Prairie Lights’ cafe The Times Club.


Write Now Poetry Society Presents: The Drums Inside Your Chest Series w/Emily Wells

Apr 7 / Englert Theatre / 7 pm / $10 - $15

The Drums Inside Your Chest is a critically acclaimed, Broadway-quality poetry concert series that, staged in theatres across New York and Los Angeles since 2007, features the best performance poets in America today. For Mission Creek, co-founder Amber Tamblyn brings her “shoulder-shaking heart-charging poetry variety show experience” to Iowa City with a cast featuring some of the world’s most formidable performers, including Patricia Smith, Beau Sia, Rachel McKibbens, Derrick Brown, Mindy Nettifee, and Jennifer L. Knox. Collectively, they are University of Iowa graduates, Tony award winners, performers on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, Sundance Film Festival award winners, National Poetry Slam team mainstays, a former paratrooper for the 82nd airborne, Cave Canem faculty member, National Book Award finalist, President of Write Bloody Publishing, and a poetry teacher through the Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. Their work has been featured in the Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Bomb, Fence, and American Poetry Review. They have published more than twenty books of poetry, collaborated with jazz and blues musicians, orchestras, and dance and theatre companies, and will take the stage with musician frequent Drums collaborator Emily Wells, whose 2012 record ‘Pillowfight’ was produced by Dan The Automator.