THE STORY OF THE WRITERS' HOUSE
The Missing Piece in Iowa's Lit World
Thanks to years of statewide educational excellence, legendary alumni graduating from the top-ranked Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Iowa City being named a UNESCO City of Literature, Iowa has gained a global reputation as a destination for writers. But up until 2014, Iowa City didn't have a literary center. Writers not in a full-time MFA program had limited opportunities to engage, learn, or even meet other writers. Stories of writers who moved to the area only to move away again weren't uncommon, and MFA grads seeking industry work left in droves. Most of all, local writers had no central place to commune, connect, and collaborate, leaving a void where a rich nucleus seemed to naturally belong.
The Dream of 'A Place'
In 2014, native Iowan, marketing exec, and independent writer Andrea Wilson moved back to her home state, setting up residence in Iowa City and seeking all that the Midwestern literary mecca had to offer. Wilson, like many others, wished for a 'place' for writers and when she didn't find it, took on the challenge of creating what she hoped could be a beautiful addition to Iowa City's literary community.
Writing a New Future
After researching successful literary centers and having over 100 coffees with Iowa writers and literary experts, Wilson created a community organizational concept whose mission was to centralize access to Iowa's literary resources in a single organization that would provide programming, workshops, and a welcoming community for all. Since its founding in 2015, the Writers' House has built a community of over 3,000 writers and delivered cross-genre programs to writers of diverse ages, races, and life situations. Today it's become an integral part of the beautiful ecosystem of Iowa lit.