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.