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University of Iowa News Release


July 7, 2011

Iowa City Book Festival features books and more

The 2011 Iowa City Book Festival (ICBF) presented by the University of Iowa Libraries, will celebrate reading, writing and books beginning Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 17, with best-selling authors, hands-on book arts, kids' activities, music and more.

The ICBF will begin on Friday with a fundraising dinner in the Main Library. Saturday is festival day in Gibson Square with booksellers, music, children's activities, food vendors, book arts demonstrations and readings and panel discussions. Sunday will be "A Day in the City of Literature." Local businesses of all kinds throughout Iowa City will participate with readings and special activities all day.

Novelists Elizabeth Berg, Jane Hamilton and Stephanie Kallos and science fiction writer Joe Haldeman are among a rich lineup of writers who will take part in the ICBF for its third year.

"This weekend during the Iowa City Book Festival, we showcase some of these authors and artisans through readings, panel discussions, interviews and demonstrations of book arts. The fruits of creativity make life enriching for all of us. As readers, writers, librarians and artisans, we all play a critical role in this creative process. Join us in this celebration of creativity and enjoy this special weekend in Iowa City," said University Librarian Nancy Baker.

This year's ICBF will feature "Novel Iowa City," an experimental writing project produced and displayed on Twitter. Beginning at noon on Friday, July 15, and continuing through 5 p.m. Sunday, July 17, commissioned authors and interested community members will contribute tweets to create a text that can be read in real time, as it is written, via the Internet. Anyone with a Twitter account is welcome to contribute to the project, and can do so by using the hash tag #icbfn in their tweets. See

Berg kicks off the festival with the keynote address at a dinner to be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Main Library. Tickets for the dinner are $75; space is limited. For ticket information, see

At 11 a.m. Saturday, July 16, in the Main Library, novelists Hamilton ("Laura Rider's Masterpiece") and Mary Helen Stefaniak ("The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia") begin the Shambaugh Auditorium Author Series, with a talk about the research they did in writing their novels. Later, at 2 p.m., Berg will discuss "Once Upon a Time, There Was You," a novel about a man and woman, long divorced, who rediscover the power of love and family in the midst of an unthinkable crisis. Stephanie Kallos follows at 3:30 p.m. for a session about her book, "Sing Them Home," the 2011 All Iowa Reads selection.

Hugo Award-winning Science fiction author Joe Haldeman and his wife Gay will talk about "The Forever War" at 11:15 a.m. Saturday on the South Patio of Gibson Square, sharing their reminiscences of living and working in Iowa City while he was writing this classic science fiction novel. The Forever War is the inspiration for the UI Libraries BookMarks statue. Haldeman returns at 3 p.m. for a discussion in the Main Library with author Cara Lockwood with about the science in science fiction.

Mystery writers featured at the ICBF include Shakespearean scholar and screenwriter Gregg Hurwitz, "You're Next: A Novel"; and TV journalist turned novelist Julie Kramer, "Silencing Sam" and "Killing Kate," which features Iowa City's mysterious Black Angel cemetery monument.

Poet Camille Dungy, author of "Suck on Marrow" will headline the poetry readings.

The ICBF will also have sessions focused on publishing, comic books, youth writing, short fiction vs. long fiction, humor writing and small presses in Iowa. Several nonfiction writers will also speak at sessions about memoirs, health care information, and journalism and environmental disasters.

For complete author biographies, see and see for a complete Saturday schedule.

Gibson Square will be teeming with activity on Saturday, when mix of local and regional booksellers and emerging authors will be selling their books ( Book artists will lead hands-on demonstrations in historical printing. Several local musicians will be playing throughout the day in Gibson Square (

The Family Performance Tent in Gibson Square will have a community reading of "Peter Pan," a puppet show, children's book readings and clowns. Children can also meet some of their favorite book characters -- Clifford, Curious George, Pippi Longstocking and others during the Book Character Parade. Several children's and young adult authors will appear: Ibtisam Barakat, "Al-Ta' Al-Marbouta Tateer (Flight of the Tied T)"; Linda Gerdner, "Grandfather's Story Cloth"; Laurel Snyder, "Penny Dreadful"; and Tess Weaver, "Opera Cat." See for a complete schedule of children's programs.

Sunday, July 18 is A Day in the City of Literature presented by Tru Art Color Graphics with readings and book-related activities at more than 50 venues throughout downtown Iowa City. Authors reading include Thisbe Nissen, Kate Kasten, Will Boast and Bonnie Jo Campbell. Dan Wardell, popular host of the IPTV Kids Clubhouse will present special Reading Road Trip programs at Iowa City Public Library.

Teen fans of the book "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins can meet 1 p.m. Sunday for a training center and "Quarter Quell" competition with games and activities based on situations in the book. See for details.

At 5 p.m. Sunday, Hamilton will join Prairie Light's Paul Ingram in this ICBF edition of Paul's Book Club at The Englert Theatre, discussing her novel "The Short History of a Prince." The ICBF closes at 6:30 p.m. Sunday with "The Roast of Iowa City" at the Mill Restaurant. See for all Sunday events.

The UI Libraries is partnering with the UI Press, Iowa City Public Library, the UNESCO City of Literature and Prairie Lights Book Store to organize ICBF. The ICBF receives significant support from Humanities Iowa as well as MidWestOne Bank, the UI Community Credit Union, Lensing Funeral and Cremation, and Tru Art Color Graphics.

For a complete schedule of events, see . For more information, contact festival co-directors Kristi Bontrager at and Greg Prickman at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Kristi Bontrager, 319-335-5960,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,