The Mission Creek Literary Series

The literary arm of the Mission Creek Festival returns with the annual Small Presses and Literary Magazine Book Fair & Reading (with beer tasting hosted by New Belgium), the annual Lit Crawl across Iowa City (now in collaboration with the new Food Crawl!), the Emerging Writers Reading, and the New Work Reading. There will also be a host of other readings and literary events. Continue to check this page for updates and schedule additions.

Tuesday, March 27

  • Reading: Luis Alberto Urrea w/Benjamin Hale @ Prairie Lights Bookstore (15 S. Dubuque St.)

    7:00 pm FREE

    On Tuesday, March 27th, Luis Alberto Urrea will read from his latest novel, Queen of America, to kick off the literary schedule. A 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction, Urrea has published extensively in all genres. The author of 13 books of fiction, essays, and poetry, Urrea’s work has won a Lannon Literary Award and an Edgar award by the Mystery Writers of America, has been selected by more than 30 different cities and colleges for One Book community and reading programs, and has been adapted into films and graphic novels. Benjamin Hale is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He received a University of Iowa Provost’s Fellowship to write The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, which also went on to win a Michener-Copernicus Award. He has been a night shift baker, a trompe l’oeil painter, a cartoonist, an illustrator and a technical writer. He grew up in Colorado and now lives in New York.

  • Wednesday, March 28

    • Reading: Four Short Story Writers of the Apocalypse @ ICPL + Reading @ Prairie Lights (15 S. Dubuque)

      7:00 pm FREE

      A new component of the literary festival begins on Wednesday, the 28th; community outreach. UI Professor and Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program Robin Hemley brings his Four Short Story Writers of the Apocalypse for a day of community-oriented workshops, all leading up to a reading that evening by Hemley and his fellow horseman: writers Michael Martone, Melissa Pritchard, and Pinckney Benedict. Across morning and afternoon sessions, these four guests of the Mission Creek Festival and UI Writers’ Workshop will hold short story workshops for undergraduates of the UI, first, and graduate students, second. These sessions will be first-come, first-serve, and the reading that evening will cap off the day of intense creative writing (7 pm, place TBD).

    • Thursday, March 29

      • New Work Reading feat. Mike Doughty, Lindsay Hunter & Jason T. Lewis @ Motley Cow Cafe (160 N. Linn St.)

        5:00 pm FREE

        Thursdays during Mission Creek continue to feature the signature “New Work” reading which pairs published authors and writer-musicians reading from recent, unpublished material. In 2012, songwriter and musician Mike Doughty (from Soul Coughing) will be paired with a writer who will be named in the next release. Doughty published his memoir, The Book of Drugs (De Capo Press), earlier this year. Lindsay Hunter is a writer living in Chicago. Her collection of slim fictions, "Daddy's," is out on featherproof books. Jason T. Lewis’ novel, The Fourteenth Colony (2011), was published with a companion album of songs written by and recorded by Jason. A singer, songwriter, and producer for nearly 25 years, Jason has released four albums of original material, first with his group Star City, and most recently with Sad Iron Music. Jason is the director of the Writing and Humanities Program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, managing editor of The Examined Life: A Literary Journal of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and co-director of the recently formed Humanities Distinction Track at the same institution.

      • Reading: Robert Hass @ W10 Buchanan Auditorium

        8:00 pm FREE

        Mission Creek is proud to co-promote the reading by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass (W10 Buchanan Auditorium, 8 pm), who is visiting the University of Iowa as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor. Hass is one of America's most critical poets. His books of poetry include The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems (Ecco Press, 2010); Time and Materials (2007), which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; Sun Under Wood: New Poems (1996); Human Wishes (1989); Praise (1979); and Field Guide (1973), which was selected by Stanley Kunitz for the Yale Younger Poets Series.Hass has also co-translated several volumes of poetry with Czeslaw Milosz, most recently Facing the River (1995), and is author or editor of several other collections of essays and translation, including The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa (1994), and Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (1984). Hass served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997 and as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007.

      • Friday, March 30

        • The Zine Dream and the Riot Grrrl Scene @ Special Collections Reading Room, 3rd Floor UI Main Library

          4 PM Free

          Special Collections is hosting a zine open house and interactive exhibition in conjunction with Mission Creek Festival. This exhibit highlights the 1990s Riot Grrrl movement and its independent publishing zine culture by exploring the intersection of music, writing and social issues. Both those who are new to zines and long-time zinesters will have the opportunity to browse the library's growing zine collection, share their experiences and participate in creating a collaborative zine.

        • Emerging Writers Reading: featuring Johannes Göransson, Rae Bryant & Jen Percy @ Prairie Lights Bookstore (15 S. Dubuque St.)

          6:00 pm FREE

          Another Mission Creek tradition, the Emerging Writers Reading slates three young literary talents as the Friday evening highlight event. Johannes Göransson will headline the group. Göransson is the author of four books - including most recently "Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate" (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2011) - and the translator of several books, with two more forthcoming in 2012 (Aase Berg's two books Dark Matter and Transfer Fat). Together with his wife Joyelle McSweeney, he co-edits Action Books, and with John Woods he runs Action, Yes (online journal). He teaches at the U of Notre Dame in Indiana and blogs at The other two emerging authors will are Rae Bryant and Jen Percy. Rae Bryant is is the editor in chief of the new JHU, M.A. in Writing literary and arts journal, The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. Her short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals (Patasola Press, 2011) has been nominated for the 2012 Pen Hemingway and Pushcart awards. Jen Percy's first book “Demon Camp” will be released in 2013 by Scribner/Simon&Schuster. She is a recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, American Short Fiction AGNI, and elsewhere.

        • Saturday, March 31

          • Small Press & Literary Journal Book Fair @ The Mill (120 E. Burlington St.)

            11:00 am - 4:00 pm FREE

            This year, more than 40 presses, journals both in print and online, and literary organizations will be represented, including: Granta magazine, Graywolf Press, A Public Space, Hobart, Action Books, Sarabande Books, Black Clock, MAKE Magazine, featherproof press, the Iowa Review, n+1, Unstuck Magazine, Poetry Magazine, Jubilat, [PANK] Magazine, New Letters, Forklift Ohio, H_NGM_N, Black Ocean Press, Rescue Press, Birds LLC, Hell Yes Press, Write Bloody Publishing, Wag’s Revue, Defunct Magazine, Knee Jerk Magazine, Lumberyard, Further Adventures Press, BkMk Press, Anomolous Press, Lightful Press, Strange Cage, earthwords, Ink Magazine, Center for the Book, UNESCO City of Literature, The Examined Life, draft: The Journal of Process, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, Slim Princess Holdings, and many, many more…entrance to the event is FREE, so come with a tote bag or two and stock up on some of the best literature being published today!

          • Granta Magazine Presents @ The Mill (120 E. Burlington St.)

            3:00 pm FREE

            Immediately following the book fair, the UK’s Granta magazine will once again host the highlight reading of the festival. Continuing the tradition of bringing to Iowa City the most dynamic literary talent alongside a writer featured recently in Granta’s pages, this reading in 2012 includes Matt Hart, T. Fleischmann, Amelia Gray, and Granta authors Chinelo Okparanta and Kevin Brockmeier. Matt Hart is the author of Who’s Who Vivid (2006) and Wolf Face (2010). Hart is also the co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety. T. Fleischmann returns to Iowa City since graduating from the Nonfiction Writing Program. Fleischmann’s essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Pleiades, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, The Pinch, and in make/shift. A nonfiction editor at DIAGRAM, T’s work has also been named Notable Essays in The Best American Essays in both 2009 and 2010. T’s book-length essay, Syzygy, Beauty: An Essay, is forthcoming in March from Sarabande. Amelia Gray is the author of AM/PM (featherproof) and Museum of the Weird (FC2). Her first novel, THREATS was published by FSG in March. Kevin Brockmeier is the author of three novels, two children’s novels, and two short story collections, including The Brief History of the Dead (2006) and, most recently, The Illumination (2011). Brockmeier was named one of Granta magazine’s “Best Young American Novelists” in 2010.

          • 2nd Annual Lit Crawl @ Multiple Venues

            5-6pm, 6-7pm, 7-8pm FREE

            Co-presented by Litquake, creators of the original Lit Crawl in San Francisco!

            For three, hour-long rounds after the Granta reading, Mission Creek’s second annual lit crawl will showcase local and regional writers in venues across downtown Iowa City:

            1st Round - 5-6pm @ White Rabbit, Times Club, MC Ginsberg
            2nd Round - 6-7pm @ Dublin Underground, RSVP, Takanami
            3rd Round - 7-8pm @ Banditos, Foxhead

            Eight events in eight locations, crawling from the south side to the north, will be hosted and co-hosted by more than 15 publishers, combining authors from their own pages with UI MFA students representing the Anthology Reading Series. In all, more than 50 writers will appear. Check out the next release for the full line-up, and for details on Mission Creek’s first annual, corresponding Food Crawl!

          • Reading: Amber Tamblyn, Beau Sia, & Derrick Brown @ The Mill (120 E. Burlington St.)

            8:00 pm $8

            Mission Creek is proud to announce, and welcome actress and poet Amber Tamblyn back to town. While Amber’s recent successes include films such as 127 Hours and the television series House, Tamblyn has also published four books of poetry - the reading for her latest collection, Bang Ditto, packed the house at Prairie Lights – and she frequently performs on stage as part of “The Drums Inside Your Chest.” Beau Sia is one of the most regarded slam poets in the U.S. A regular on HBO's Def Poetry, Beau has won two National Poetry Slam Championships and was a focus of the documentary film "SlamNation." He is the author of the books "A Night Without Armor II: the Revenge" and "Attack! Attack! Go!" Derrick Brown ("former paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne, gondolier, magician, and fired weatherman") is a poet, an MC, and a comedian. He has toured or performed with Indie rock acts Cold War Kids, The Decemberists, Comedian David Cross, Richard Swift, Pink Mountaintops and at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival with the Flaming Lips and Animal Collective.Derrick is also the president of Write Bloody Publishing.

          • Sunday, April 1

            • Was the Word: Poetry Pro-Am @ The Englert Theatre (221 E. Washington St.)

              5:00 pm Donations at the Door (For Charity)

              Continuing Mission Creeks’ outreach initiatives, the Iowa Youth Writing Project, Working Group Theatre, and Mission Creek Festival join forces to bring poets and masters of the stage Amber Tamblyn, Beau Sia, and Derrick Brown together with young poets from across the state of Iowa to share (and rock) the mic at the historic Englert Theatre. (Join us after the show at 6:30 at RAYGUN for a reception and "text art" show featuring the work of the young poets.)