Iowa Alumni Magazine | June 2006 | Reviews

The Writing University Archive

By Shelbi Thomas

When you're at the UI, reminders of Iowa City's rich literary scene are everywhere—from the bustling bookstores to the sidewalks of Iowa Avenue decorated with words and images inspired by some of the state's most celebrated authors.

For non-residents, a digital library now makes it simpler to keep track of the pulse of this storied town. The online Writing University Archive, a collaboration between the UI School of Library and Information Science and the writing programs, offers free audio and video recordings of renowned writers from around the globe who have showcased their work at Iowa. It highlights collections of readings from the International Writing Program, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and WSUI radio's "Live from Prairie Lights" series.

The archive is searchable by author, title, and country, and it also offers a valuable "staff picks" button that provides a shortcut to items of particular note. A work in progress, it already contains hundreds of files and continues to be updated weekly with clips from Frank Conroy, Marilynne Robinson, Salman Rushdie, Alice Sebold, and others who reflect upon their work and creative processes.