Annual Iowa City Book Festival Returns With New Hybrid Format


This year’s Iowa City Book Festival will return to the literary community with a new hybrid format to provide ultimate accommodation for its attendees and attendees.

Abigail Wisecup

A volunteer reader speaks during a War and Peace public reading at Ped Mall on Monday, September 30, 2019. As part of the Iowa City Book Festival, readings will continue at Ped Mall during three days.

For 13 years, the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization has hosted the Iowa City Book Festival to celebrate the local literary community, especially its pool of talented authors.

This year’s festival will be no different, although it will feature a new hybrid format after the transition from last year’s festival to a completely virtual decor events. The 2021 Iowa City Book Festival will take place October 17-24, with virtual and in-person events.

John Kenyon, the executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization, wrote in an email to The Iowan Daily that in addition to the usual readings from authors linked to Iowa City, this year’s festival will feature events about Fyodor Dostoyevsky to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Russian novelists, centered on the UI Library Exposure dedicated to the author.

The lineup includes a series of films at FilmScene and a special solo play by The Grand Inquisitor, adapted from Dostoyevsky’s work, produced by Riverside Theater in the gallery space of the Main Library.

“Each year brings something different depending on the partnerships we form,” Kenyon wrote.

A total of 17 authors will participate in the festival, reading their own works and participating in discussions based on the literature.

One of those writers is UI Writer’s Workshop alumnus Julie Hanson, who will read at the festival’s first official event on October 19 alongside fellow poet Marc Rahe.

Hanson will read from his poetry book Unbeknownst to, which won the Iowa Poetry Prize.

Hanson said the festival is one of the things that makes Iowa City a true city of literature. She is interested in attending several of the events, she said, including Riverside’s performance.

“During the festival, the feeling of being in the middle of a college writing town, feels intensified, feels sort of italic,” said Hanson. “As an audience member and listener, I am interested in participating in a lot of the programming. “

Kenyon wrote that the hybrid format is designed to increase attendance at all festival events. All events will be streamed online for those who don’t feel safe to attend in person, he wrote.

“We know some people are eager to come back to events in person, but we realize there are many who are uncomfortable doing it or unable to go out,” Kenyon wrote. “Hosting both should make the festival more accessible. “

Another participating author is Chuy Renteria, graduated from the dance department of IU. Renteria will discuss her first book, We heard it when we were young.

Renteria said he was most excited about present a festival that feels safe for all participants thanks to the hybrid format.

He added that he was grateful for the chance to be part of a gathering of authors.

“It’s a very human thing to be together and to listen to stories, to discuss them as a group, but we don’t want people to miss them because they are not yet comfortable with it. level of interaction, ”Renteria said. “Any chance our literary community has to come together is significant. “

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