n By Claire Dietz
Iowa City is the nation’s only UNESCO City of Literature and home to the world-renowned Iowa Writers’ workshop. Ergo, it comes as no surprise to see people crowding at Mission Creek Festival’s Lit Crawl, hoping to see publishers and authors in a city that is perhaps one of the most welcome to people such as them.
The evening of April 7 presented a unique opportunity to see how much the local and small presses have grown in the past few years, in locations throughout central Iowa City.
One of these locations was Beadology, another White Rabbit. Another, interestingly enough, was the Yacht Club.
A main focus of many of these works and speakers was poetry, speaking to the experiences many have lived through en masse lately. Racism, abortion, women’s rights, and a struggle to find a sense of self in a post-election world that doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense after it took a turn few expected.
Garth Greenwell, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction and recipient of countless other literary accolades, read from his highly acclaimed book What Belongs to You.>
One group in attendance, the Iowa Youth Writing Project, helps gives voices to middle-school and high-school students. During the seventth-annual Lit Crawl, some of those voices were heard.
The program allows University of Iowa students to help in local middle schools and high schools and allow young aspiring writers to begin to develop their own voices and their own styles.
With three rounds and three hours, attendees seemed to come and go at their leisure and at their whims. The environment allowed free movement from venue to venue as people sought out different publishers and authors as the night progressed.