The University of Iowa

New Podcast Episodes: The Eleventh Hour

All new Writing University podcasts are now available from the Iowa Summer Writing Festival's Eleventh Hour lecture series!

These free podcasts offer highly-informative and inspirational hour-long presentations broaching issues of special interest to writers, including aspects of craft, process, the writing life, and publishing. 

Starting this week, we will be posting all new podcasts as they happen. Below is just the start of many to come, available to listeners for free! Find the full listing on our Podcast Directory page.

New podcasts posted this week:  

Thursday, June 28th
Why Not Quit? Tips for Becoming a Durable Writer
Tim Bascom


Talent is important in creative writing, but resilience is critical.  Writing is a lonely endeavor with much rejection. Even worse, our projects are often so long-term that they require the staying power of a marathon runner. So how do we develop that sort of endurance—that stubborn persistence? Tim Bascom will discuss tried-and-true habits from practicing writers who have refused to quit. 

Monday, July 9th
The Story Lens
Sandra Scofield


Beneath our writing is a deep sense of self that informs the way we organize experience and shape meaning. Autobiographical writing heightens our awareness of life's patterns and themes, concepts that in turn feed fiction, creative nonfiction, essay, and poetry. This discussion will draw on contemporary thinking in narrative psychology and narrative theory, as well as models from literature, in the framework of incorporating the story lens of life experience into our creative work.

Wednesday, July 11th
Writing Resistance
Suzanne Scanlon


Much of my favorite work to read and to teach can be considered “resistant narratives”—work that responds to and rewrites the narratives we have received from a culture that often wishes to reduce and limit our very souls. To become an artist is to write oneself back into being. A book can be a place where the individual remakes the world. In this talk, we will consider writing as political resistance, a tool to counter the limitations of cultural, societal, and familial expectation. Contemporary writers have long created literary spaces of resistance and possibility, taking the status of outsider and expanding the project of literature.

Thursday, July 12th
Writing Under the Influence
Gordon Mennenga


Lord Byron said, "We of the craft are all crazy." Maybe, maybe not. This talk will examine the forces that influence what we write, why we write, when we write, and where we write. Drugs, drink, depression, joy, compulsion, imagination, dreams, secrets, dollars—we'll cover the bitter and the sweet aspects of the act of creation. Caution: Gordon Mennenga is a writer not a doctor.

Monday, July 16th
Diana Goetsch


Giving a piece of writing a title is a proper and necessary act—otherwise we’d have, “Untitled,” by Homer, not to be confused with Leo Tolstoy’s great work, “Untitled.” Yet titling is not generally spoken of at any length or depth. Naming anything—a book, a boat, a racehorse, or a child—is at once a craft and an art. There are spectacular titles, serviceable titles, and failed titles; but beyond that there are types of titles we can look at. Usually there’s only one best title for something, and new writers often shirk the task of finding it, or override it with cleverness or extravagance. This Eleventh Hour talk will be full of examples, suggestions, and exercises designed to help us think about titles.

Wednesday, July 18th
Making and Breaking Taboos
Charles Holdefer


Writers frequently confront taboos—cultural, religious, and sexual—in their work. These taboos are also reinforced by the publishing process. When is it OK to offend? When is it gratuitous? Are you being honest, or are you being a jerk? Who decides? In this Eleventh Hour presentation, Charles Holdefer will talk of recent trends and describe some of his own experiences in regard to these thorny questions.

Thursday, July 19th
On the Feminine vs. the Masculine Narrative Voice
Mieke Eerkens


During workshops, it often becomes clear how heavily the “feminine” voice—characterized by multi-angled, expansive prose and a focus on the emotional realm—is criticized in writing, and the “masculine” voice—characterized by straightforward, sparse prose and a focus on the physical realm—is pushed. Editors and the work they publish reinforce this aesthetic preference, which affects our culture in a feedback loop. Yet, male, female, and gender-neutral writers alike reflect varying degrees of traditional masculinity or femininity in their authorial voices. We will interrogate the assumptions about the masculine voice versus the feminine voice, and discuss how it relates to our writing.