September – October 1988

For over fifty years the University of Iowa has been nationally known as a center of creative writing. This was true even before the establishment of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, when Iowa became the first university in the United States to grant advanced degrees for works of the imagination. This reputation was enhanced by the creation of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and over the years such literary figures as Flannery O’Connor, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, John Irving, and many others have been associated with the Workshop as students, as teachers, or both. Because of this concentration of writers, both Iowa City and the University of Iowa have frequently become the setting for works of fiction.

This exhibition celebrates the long and fruitful relationship of the city and the university with creative artists by displaying some of the many works of fiction which are set wholly or partially in Iowa City.

In the display are the works of famous authors as well as the works of less well known writers. Most, but not all, of those represented here have been connected with the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at some time, or, in the case of Anton Shammas, the International Writing Program.

The works in this exhibition have been selected because the authors have chosen to use Iowa City as the location of their works. In many cases the university is the principal setting, but in others the landscapes of the city itself predominate.

This exhibition was prepared by David Hudson, Mary McInroy, Judith Macy, and Earl Rogers.