Van Allen Hall

Van Allen Hall

30 North Dubuque Street

Home to many readings and events for writers in Iowa City, Van Allen Hall is a manifestation of both the University of Iowa’s strong support of the sciences and the critical importance of its namesake’s work. An observatory is visible above the roofline, and the building’s auditorium — a single-story, slab-roof-covered auditorium attached to a multi-use, multistory structure – makes Van Allen visually consistent with other buildings on the Iowa Avenue Campus.


Carolyn Kizer reads at the University of Iowa

From the Daily Iowan, March 23rd, 1979: “Carolyn Kizer and Henry Carlile will present a reading of their poetry at 8 p.m. today in Lecture Room 2, Physics Building.”

“Poetry Reading.” Daily Iowan, 23 Mar. 1976, pp. 6–6.


John D’Agata, Live from Prairie Lights, February 10, 2010

UI nonfiction writing faculty member John D’Agata reads from About a Mountain. A Publishers Weekly starred review of About a Mountain stated, “In this circuitous, stylish investigation, D’Agata (‘Halls of Fame’) uses the federal government’s highly controversial (and recently rejected) proposal to entomb the U.S.’s nuclear waste located in Yucca Mountain, near Las Vegas, as his way into a spiraling and subtle examination of the modern city, suicide, linguistics, Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream,’ ecological and psychic degradation, and the gulf between information and knowledge.

“Acting as a counterpoint to Yucca is the story of a teenager named Levi who leapt to his death off Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Motel. It is testament to D’Agata’s skillful organization of the book, broken into Who, What, When, Where, and Why, and his use of a rapid sequences of montages — Levi’s suicide is spliced with Orwellian Congressional debates on the stability of Yucca Mountain — that readers will be pleasurably (and perhaps necessarily) disoriented but never distracted from the themes knitting together the ostensibly unrelated voices of Native American activists, politicians, geologists, Levi’s parents, D’Agata’s own mother, and a host of zany Las Vegans. ” A sublime reading experience, aesthetically rewarding and marked by moral courage and humility.”



John Irving: Van Allen Hall

The event was originally scheduled to take place in the Van Allen Lecture Hall on the UI campus, but due to the overflow crowd and potential fire hazard, the event was moved to another venue a minute before the 8:15 pm start time. The announcement prompted Irving aficionados to take to the streets of Iowa City and head toward the Pappajohn Business Building with the hope of commandeering a seat for the legendary alumni writer. The mass exodus of people momentarily shut down traffic on Dubuque Street as the literary mob, undeterred by the threat of jaywalking charges, blindly marched across one of the main downtown arteries.

Lindsey, T.M. “John Irving Immortalizes Iowa City in Upcoming Model.” Iowa Independent , 13 Mar. 2013, iowaindependent.com/2088/john-irving-immortalizes-iowa-city-in-upcoming-novel.


Louise Glück reading at the University of Iowa

In her long career, the poet has taught at more than 15 universities,and she is currently at Yale. Her past positions include teaching at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop from 1976 to 1977. She’ll return to Iowa tonight as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at 8p.m. in Van Allen Hall Lecture Room 2.

Atkinson Gunyon, Tara. “READING Louise Glück .” Daily Iowan, 9 Apr. 2008, dailyiowan.lib.uiowa.edu/DI/2008/di2008-04-09.pdf



Philip Levine reading, The University of Iowa, late 20th century

In this recording, Philip Levine reads at Van Allen Hall on The University of Iowa campus, date unknown (late 20th century).

Iowa Digital Library, Virtual Writing University Archive