Welcome to the 2021 Cedar Falls Authors Festival

Did you know that Cedar Falls has produced five nationally-known and best-selling writers—more nationally-known authors than any other town in Iowa? Four of them taught at the University of Northern Iowa and several were students there as well. Three were born here.

During 2016-2018, a group of volunteers planned a year of activities to celebrate those authors, and give local authors a chance to present. In all, we had 60 programs and found great community support and an opportunity for collaboration.

Now, we're moving forward with the support of the Hearst Center for the Arts, the Cedar Falls Public Library, and Cedar Falls Tourism as our partners.

Looking Ahead, CFAF, 2021 -- We're Back!


Thursday, September 2, 5:00-6:30. Public reception for artist Gary Kelley's graphic novel, The Moon of the Snow Blind. View the exhibition of selected drawings, join us for refreshments on the patio, and get your copy signed, 5:30-5:45. Books are available for purchase at the event.

Saturday, September 18,th 1:00 pm. Join the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association's program in Mae Latta. Ken Lyftogt will lead the group discussion of Suckow's story "Susan and the Doctor." Barbara Lounsberry will then lead a discussion of "Spinster and Cat." Ruth Suckow is Iowa's Willa Cather and our first feminist author.

Stories are available at the Iowa Digital Heritage website, https://tinyurl.com/bfx3zk6j


Sunday, October 3 at 1:00 p.m. in Mae Latta Hall

Cedar Falls Author Barbara Lounsberry will present a program titled "Virginia Woolf, the Arts & Crafts Movement, & the Art of the Diary." Dr. Lounsberry has written a trilogy on Woolf and diaries: Becoming Virginia Woolf: Her Early Diaries; Virginia Woolf's Modernist Path: Her Middle Diaries; and Virginia Woolf, The War Without, The War Within: Her Final Diaries. The program--with many visuals--will be followed by a wine and cheese reception and book signing.

Tuesday, October 5, at 5:30 p.m. at Hartman Reserve Nature Center Amphitheatre

Join Dr. Suzanne Bartlett on a Forest Bathing Exercise at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center Amphitheatre. Dr. Bartlett is the author of “The Outdoor Adventurer's Guide to Forest Bathing: Using Shinrin-Yoku to Hike, Bike, Paddle, and Climb Your Way to Health and Happiness”

Sunday, October 10 at 2:00 p.m. in Mae Latta Hall

Author and UNI Professor of Art History Dr. Elizabeth Sutton will give a talk about her book Angel DeCora, Karen Thronson, and the Art of Place.


Thursday, November 4, 7 pm -- Author Dr. Lynn Brant will discuss his book, Staring into Compost and Other Essays.

Tuesday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m. in Mae Latta Hall

Jim O’Loughlin will talk about his new book The Last Caucus in Iowa. O'Loughlin is also the author of the flash fiction collection, Dean Dean Dean Dean and the editor of Kurt Vonnegut Remembered. He is the host of the Final Thursday Reading Series at the Hearst Center, which is now in its 21st season.

Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m. in Mae Latta Hall

Author and Speaker Jeffrey S. Copeland will discuss his latest book After Jackie: 15 Pioneers Who Helped Change the Face of Baseball.


Tuesday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Mae Latta Hall

Poet and Author Vincent Gotera will talk about The Coolest Month which features a poem for every day in the month of April.

Tuesday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m. in Mae Latta Hall

Grant Tracey will discuss his 2020 book Winsome. Winsome follows Eddie Sands, a Korean War vet turned taxi driver, whose efforts to protect people near him quickly entwines him in a tale of jealousy, corruption and redemption.

Visit the Cedar Falls Public Library website for more information about upcoming Author Talks at the library in November at www.cedarfallslibrary.org .

Watch this space, and follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/CedarFallsAuthorsFestival

Our Planning Committee (Umbrellas), 2016-2018

Mary Taylor, Cherie Dargan, Mary Brammer, Rosemary Beach, Kim Manning, & Scott Cawelti at City Hall, after submitting our Proclamation to City Council and the Mayor. Missing: Jan Anderson and Barbara Lounsberry.

Cherie Dargan, Rosemary Beach and Barbara Lounsberry after a program at the Cedar Falls Library.

Find us on Facebook!


The Festival on the UNI website


The UNI Library has created a set of pages about the Authors Festival; you can view them here.

If you haven't checked it out lately, take a look. You will see that they list books by each author, as well as give some biographical information. In addition, they list artifacts found in the UNI Special Collections.

Bess Streeter Museum

The Bess Streeter Aldrich Museum in Elmwood, Nebraska is now linking to our site; if you are looking for more information about Aldrich, check them out.

Click on the names below to visit each author's page or use the navigation menu on the left.

Our Five Authors

ruth suckow

Bess Streeter Aldrich

February 17, 1881 -– August 3, 1954

Ruth Suckow

August 6, 1892 -- January 23, 1960

Nancy Price

March 16, 1925

James Hearst

August 8, 1900 -- July 27, 1983






Robert James Waller

August 1, 1939 -- March 10, 2017

Do we actually have SEVEN famous authors?

Ronald Verlin Cassill


R. V. Cassill, or Ronald Verlin Cassill, (May 17, 1919 – March 25, 2002) was a prolific writer, reviewer, editor, painter, and lithographer. He is most notable for his novels and short stories, and won awards and grants." ("Ronald Verlin Cassill," Wikipedia) He was also a teacher.

What was his Cedar Falls connection?

"Cassill was born on May 17, 1919 in Cedar Falls, Iowa to Howard Cassill, a school superintendent, and Mary Glosser, a teacher; he had two brothers, Donald Cassill and H. Carroll Cassill, and a sister, LaJean. After graduating from Blakesburg High School, he earned a B.A. in art at The University of Iowa in 1939, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. From 1942 to 1946, Cassill served the United States Army in the Medical Administration Core as a first lieutenant, stationed in the South Pacific."


http://www.rvcassill.com/ -- His author website

http://www.rvcassill.com/RVCBIO.htm -- biography

http://www.rvcassill.com/rvcbooks.htm -- List of his books

Rev. Charlie Shedd


Rev. Charlie Shedd (1915-2004) wrote 40 books that were humorous, inspirational, and motivational. His books focused on churches, relationships, dating, dieting, marriage, parenting, communication, and sexuality.

What was his Cedar Falls connection?

Charlie was an Iowa boy who graduated from Cedar Falls High School, married a Cedar Falls girl, Martha, and served as a youth pastor at North minster Presbyterian church in Waterloo early in his career.

We honored Charlie Shedd at our August Readathon: check for the Power point about him as an attachment at the bottom of the home page.


Brief Bio by his publisher

Gary Kelley's Art work Commemorates the Cedar Falls Authors Festival

Local artist Gary Kelley designed a piece of art featuring quotes from our five authors. The poster was used to promote the Festival, and signed copies were available for sale at our events.

gary kelley poster

Festival Purpose:

1. To inspire young and old through the knowledge that Cedar Falls has produced writers from pioneer times to now.

2. To convey that writing is a valuable and rewarding form of expression that members of the Cedar Falls community regularly engage in—like breathing.

3. To enhance civic pride and our sense of community identity by recognizing that Cedar Falls can boast of five nationally known, best-selling writers—more than any other town in Iowa.

4. To celebrate all of our Cedar Falls authors, past and present, by creating a Directory of Cedar Falls Authors.

Last updated October 20, 2021

Cherie Dargan, Webmaster

Contact us at cfauthorsfestival@gmail.com

See also our Contact Page