Iowa's Literary Legacy

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. In 2008, 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. 

The Missing Piece

Wilson, like many others, made a surprising discovery when she returned to eastern Iowa. Though the region had a vibrant culture in celebration of the literary arts and an exemplary university writing tradition, it lacked a community support system for 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.

Writing a New Future

After researching successful literary centers and having over 100 coffee meetings with Iowa writers and literary experts, Wilson created an nonprofit 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.


Our Team


Andrea Wilson | Founder & Executive Director

A visual artist, writer, and storyteller, Andrea believes that creativity and expression define the beauty of the human experience.  In early 2014, she moved back to the UNESCO City of Literature to passionately pursue writing, only to feel disconnected from the very literary community that brought her home. The Iowa Writers' House started as an altruistic dream to create a springboard for all of those involved in using art and literature to connect with themselves the world. Today the organization reaches over 3000 writers, offers workshops and programs in both Iowa City and Des Moines, and has created strategic relationships connecting Iowa with festivals in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and other Cities of Literature across the globe. 

Erin Casey

Erin Casey graduated from Cornell College with degrees in English and Secondary Education. While there she was published in Cornell’s literary magazine, Open Field, and later became its Art Editor. She also helped start the first creative writing club, Wordsmiths. Immediately after school, she attended the Denver Publishing Institute to study a graduate course focused on the publishing industry. Since then, she has recruited for DPI for the past 7 years. She is one of the first volunteers to work with the Iowa Writers’ House and acts as a concierge for the Violet Realm. She is a Room Coordinator and is helping to put together additional Rooms for IWH. She is also the blog and story writer for Blue Jasmine Studios in Colorado. She recently attended the Pikes Peak Writing Convention and was asked to submit her first novel to an acquiring editor.


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Lauren Katalinich

Lauren is a native Texan but converted Midwesterner with a love of nature, travel and the written word (with a soft spot for the classics). She is notorious for never wearing shoes and her insatiable penchant for beef jerky. Lauren works in communications & relations for International Programs at the University of Iowa where she is lucky enough to get to combine her passions for creative communication and international affairs.





Alex Penland

A child of the Washington, DC museums, Alex’s passion for humanity and literature led her to Iowa City in 2015.  She uses her degree in English and Anthropology to write silly books about alien geologists and magic letters in her spare time.  When not working with the Iowa Writer’s House, she is a substitute teacher with Iowa City Community School District and a freelance writer. Alex is a concierge for the Violet Realm, the Iowa Writers' House fantasy/sci-fi group.






Dylan Larino

Raised smack dab in the middle of Tobacco Road, Dylan moved to Iowa City from Cary, North Carolina because of a passion for storytelling and the allure of gratuitous amounts of scholarship money. He can be frequently seen wearing combat boots and black, graphic tees while browsing for cryptozoology articles or pictures of turtles online. Dylan currently studies English at the University of Iowa and is a part of its Undergraduate Creative Writing Track.

Zach Bingham

With August 2015 marking his third separate move to Iowa City in a span of six years, Zach knows a thing or two about falling in love with this great City of Literature that we call home. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he has spent the better part of his life dedicated to an amorous pursuit of creating, collaborating, and writing — most recently with The WarBing Collective, and now, The Iowa Writers’ House — right here in Iowa City, with the singular goal of helping to further establish and effectively inspire other entrepreneurs, innovators, imagineers, and artists of every walk of life.  

Alisha Jeddeloh

Alisha Jeddeloh has been a farmer and a teacher, a traveler and an editor, and through it all, a reader and a writer. As a child, she wrote plays and forced her cousins and siblings to perform them; as a teenager, she wrote angsty poems; and as an adult, she writes fiction. She currently edits for various book publishers, independent authors, and The Iowa Review. She believes that everyone has a story to tell, and she's excited to be part of an organization that helps people do just that.