The Writers’ Farmhouse

The Writers’ Farmhouse

American Legion Rd.

Several generations of workshop students lived in this house, starting with Jane Smiley in the 1970s to Zach Savich, Matt Miller and others in the 2000s.

Image and Literary Reference

Jane Smiley: The Writers’ Farmhouse

Although no longer standing, the Writers’ Farmhouse was home to a long line of workshop students from the early 1970s until 2006. Jane Smiley recounts her time living there:

In the spring, we found a farmhouse at the edge of town – on American Legion Road. Town was to the west and farm country to the east. The farmer had sold the property to developers, who were waiting for permits. I think the rent was $250. This is where I lived while I was in the workshop, and it was a nice big house, the scene of several parties – one for E. L. Doctorow, and one for Jane Howard’s birthday. We had a big garden out to the east side of the house, and several roommates, including Meredith Steinbach. One of our renters was my partner’s brother, who was a believer in Eckankar. He lived in the heatless attic, because he thought that his body could astrally project more easily if there was no insulation.


Smiley, Jane. “Iowa City Days,” The Writing University website