The oldest creative writing program in the country, and still regarded the best. More than forty Pulitzer Prize winners. North America’s only UNESCO City of Literature. How did the midwestern college town of Iowa City, Iowa become the capital of creative writing in America? It’s an unlikely story of literary ambition, academic innovation, and a promising young poet who became a cultural entrepreneur.

Featuring scholars, historians and artists, interwoven with noted authors discussing the writing life in ways hilarious and profound, City of Literature tells the story of a community of writers while providing a window into the creative process itself.


Paul Engle (October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991), noted American poet, editor, teacher, literary critic, novelist, and playwright. He is best remembered as the long-time director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and as founder of the International Writing Program (IWP), both at the University of Iowa.   more…



Appearing in the film:
Marvin Bell
Loren Glass
Mary Bennett
Laurel Fantauzzo
Christopher Merrill
Nicholas Meyer
Ethan Canin
Samantha Chang
Danny Khalatschi