City of Lit Mobile




UNESCO is the educational, scientific and cultural arm of the United Nations, facilitating international co-operation among its member states. Its Creative Cities Network, launched in 2004, is designed to promote innovative social, economic, and cultural growth in leading cities around the world, fostering both local initiatives and global connections. Read More...

The Writing University is pleased to announce the release of a new iPhone app which focuses on the writing tradition of Iowa City and the University of Iowa.


The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature app ('City of Lit’) features information on Iowa City's rich literary history, highlighting authors and local sites of interest. Visitors can guide themselves around town in literary style -- the app offers maps of Iowa City, with embedded electronic 'brass plaques,' indicating a variety of unique locations: where historic readings took place, where authors wrote and lived, as well as the legendary taverns and haunts where writers gathered to argue and discuss. Author profiles, biographical and bibliographic information are complemented with audio and video clips.

In addition to this, the app features “News” and “Events” tabs that are constantly updated with reports from Iowa City: goings-on around town, readings, book launches, films and lectures. New authors and materials will be frequently added to the app. Additional interactive features are planned for future updates of the app.

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature iPhone app is the inaugural project of The University of Iowa UNESCO City of Literature Mobile Application Development Team, an interdisciplinary group of University of Iowa faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students from the Departments of English and Computer Science; the Schools of Library and Information Science, and Art and Art History; and the staff of the Virtual Writing University.

Comments are welcome:
For support for the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature iPhone application, please email:



How could a small city in the center of the American heartland have such a wide-ranging impact on creative writing? The answer is that Iowa City, for its size, may be the most literary city on earth. Often called the “Athens of the Midwest,” it has a unique set of influential literary institutions, which explore new ways to teach and support writers. At the same time, it has long been, quite simply, a place for writers: a haven, a destination, a proving ground, and a nursery.

Together, these synthesizing aspects – the writers and the institutions that have grown from them and for them – have created a history and an identity in which its citizens take enormous pride, prizing a role in celebrating and honoring writers and good writing. The University of Iowa continues to invest substantially in the dozens of writing and literary programs.

By designating Iowa City as a City of Literature, UNESCO has recognized Iowa City’s deeply elaborated cultural assets and its strong creative and economic foundations.

Iowa City and the University of Iowa treasure this honor and will seek to create fresh opportunities locally and with its new global partners.





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