Meet the Writers

Iowa City is the home to Poets, Novelists, Playwrights, Essayists, Translators, Journalists, Screenwriters and more …

Full Collection of Writers

Fiction

Abraham Verghese

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Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, is a professor at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1991. His work includes the award-winning novel Cutting for Stone. [more]

Alice Notley

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Notley attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, first for fiction and then for poetry. She is the author of over 25 books of poetry, including ‘Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems’, which received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. [more]

Andre Dubus

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Andre Dubus, an American short-story writer and novelist, was the author of several books, including Broken Vessels (a finalist for the Pulitzer prize.) He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he studied under under Richard Yates. [more]

Flannery O’Connor

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Flannery O’Connor (1925 – 1964) was an American writer and essayist. In 1946, she was accepted into the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Her posthumously-compiled Complete Stories won the 1972 U.S. National Book Award. [more]

Frank Conroy

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Frank Conroy was the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for an impressive eighteen years: 1987 to 2005. He is the author of five books, including Stop-Time (1967) and Body and Soul (1993) [more]

Gail Godwin

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Gail Godwin is an American novelist and short story writer. Her work has included five best-sellers and three finalists for the National Book Award. [more]

James Alan McPherson

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James Alan McPherson taught as a professor of creative writing at the University of Iowa. McPherson came to the University of Iowa as a student in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1969, returning in 1979 to join the permanent faculty in the Workshop. [more]

Jane Smiley

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Jane Smiley (1949) was born in Los Angeles, California. She came to Iowa City 1972, and subsequently earned an MA (1975), MFA (1976), and Ph.D. (1978) at the University of Iowa. In 1981, she went to work at Iowa State University, in Ames, where she taught until 1996. [more]

John Cheever

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John William Cheever (1912 – 1982) was an American novelist and short story writer. In the fall of 1973, Cheever taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where his students included T. C. Boyle, Allan Gurganus, and Jane Smiley. [more]

John Irving

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John Irving attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop from 1965-1967, where he studied with Kurt Vonnegut. At Iowa, he wrote an MFA thesis that became his first novel, ‘Setting Free the Bears’ (1968). Irving later taught at the Workshop from 1972 to 1975. [more]

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American author of Cat’s Cradle (1963) and Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), among others. He taught at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop from 1965 to 1967. [more]

Margaret Walker

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Margaret Walker, acclaimed poet and author, was at the forefront of Chicago’s African American literary movement. She received an MA in 1940 from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD in 1965 from the University of Iowa. [more]

Marilynne Robinson

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Marilynne Robinson is the author of many prize-winning novels, including Housekeeping (1981), Gilead (2004), Home (2008). In 1991, Robinson became a professor at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She retired from her position in 2016. [more]

Marquis Childs

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Marquis Childs (March 17, 1903 – June 30, 1990) was a 20th-century American journalist, columnist, and author. He attended the University of Iowa for his Masters, and later returned to teach English composition. [more]

Mildred Wirt Benson

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Mildred Wirt Benson wrote and published the first 23 Nancy Drew stories, under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. She attended undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Iowa from 1920 – 1927. [more]

Mo Yan

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Guan Moye (better known by the pen name Mo Yan) is a Chinese novelist and short story writer. He won the Nobel Prize for his work in 2012. He was a participant in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. [more]

Orhan Pamuk

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Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature, took part in the International Writing Program (IWP) in the fall of 1985. He is one of Turkey’s most prominent novelists; his work has sold over seven million books. [more]

Paul Engle

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Paul Engle (October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991) was a poet, literary critic, novelist, and playwright. He acted as the long-time director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was the founder of the International Writing Program, both at the University of Iowa. [more]

Ray Young Bear

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Ray Young Bear is the author of several award-winning books of poetry and fiction, including Black Eagle Child. He grew up on the Meskwaki (Red Earth People) Settlement in central Iowa and attended the University of Iowa. [more]

Raymond Carver

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Raymond Carver was a fiction writer and poet, author of several award-winning collections of short stories. He attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop from 1963 – 1964, and returned to teach at the Workshop in 1973.  [more]

Robert Penn Warren

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Robert Penn Warren was an American poet and novelist. He taught as a faculty member at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. [more]

T.C. Boyle

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T.C. Boyle (or Tom Coraghessan Boyle) is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Boyle grew up in Peekskill, NY and completed his M.F.A. at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1974 as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 19th Century British Literature. [more]

Wallace Stegner

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Wallace Stegner was born in Lake Mills, Iowa. He came to Iowa City in the fall of 1930 for his graduate studies in creative writing, and he left Iowa in 1934 with a Ph.D. in English.  [more]

Yaa Gyasi

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Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, won the National Book Critics Circle award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the American Book Award. Gyasi received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. [more]

Yiyun Li

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Yiyun Li has received numerous awards, including Whiting Award and the MacArthur Foundation fellow. She has an MS in immunology from the UI, as well as MFA degrees in nonfiction and fiction from both the Nonfiction Writing Program and the Workshop. [more]