In 1936, The University of Iowa began gathering poets and fiction writers to help them develop their talents. The Program in Creative Writing—more commonly known as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop—was born.
Seventy years later, the pioneering Workshop remains the most-esteemed program of its kind. UI programs in nonfiction and playwriting have earned similar status, and Iowa’s literary tradition—and the writers it attracts—have suffused practical and creative writing instruction throughout the University curriculum.
This fall, “the Writing University” begins a five-year celebration of writing at Iowa and launches new initiatives that build on Iowa’s reputation as a literary treasure.
These initiatives include the Virtual Writing University, which will feature an online portfolio and archive; renovations to the Dey House, home of the Writers’ Workshop; proposals for new degree, certificate, and fellowship programs; and development of a “Writing Neighborhood” that would house related programs near the Workshop and the International Writing Program (IWP).
The Workshop received a National Humanities Medal in 2003—the first such medal awarded to a university. Iowa’s literary standing has won global renown, and since 1967 the IWP has brought more than 1,000 writers from 120 nations to campus for residencies.
Iowa’s tradition of fostering writers is a gift to literature—and to the world.