Iowa's Literary Heritage Resources
Iowa's Literary Heritage and Writers from Other Iowa Towns
A map of Iowa, showing the regions of the state
This list identifies authors by the town where they were born or worked.
Ted Kooser – U.S. poet laureate; raised in Ames & graduate of ISU
Sara Paretsky – mystery writer; born in Ames in 1947
Jane Smiley – A Thousand Acres; Moo
Paul Engle – poet
William Shirer – The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich
Carl Van Vechten – novelist & photographer
James Norman Hall – Mutiny on the Bounty
Council Bluffs & Independence
Janet Dailey – romance novelist
Susan Glaspell – novels and short stories as well as a wonderful play, Trifles, which also appeared as a short story.
Alice French (using the pen name of Octave Thanet)
Alan E. Nourse – science fiction and science writer: Blade Runner
Richard Bissell – Pajama Game
Thomas Gifford – bestselling author of thriller novels
David Rabe – playwright (Sticks and Bones won the Tony Award for Best Play)
Thomas Heggen – Mister Roberts
Keosauqua & Pittsburg
Phil Stong – State Fair
Wallace Stegner – fiction and nonfiction
Meredith Willson – Music Man
Edna Ferber – Showboat: spent girlhood in Ottumwa
Marjorie Holmes – popular Christian author
Mona Van Duyn – U.S. poet laureate: went to UNI
Maurice Zimm – screenwriter: Creature from the Black Lagoon
MacKinlay Kantor – novelist and screenwriter: Andersonville
Did we miss someone from your community? Please let us know!
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Links to Other Lists of books by Iowa Authors
http://www.jefferson.lib.ia.us/Adults/iowaauthors -- Iowa Authors in the Jefferson Public Library. This is a very comprehensive list of books by Iowa authors
http://dmlibraryreader.pbworks.com/w/page/10789612/Iowa-Interests -- The Des Moines Public Library presents its list of books with Iowa interests
The Iowa Authors Collection has been keeping track of Iowa Authors for many years: the Ia Authors page lists over 2,000 Iowa writers. The Special Collections has information about some of the writers, whose names are hyperlinked.
Bob McCown with his picks for 50 books written by Iowans. "These fifty books on Iowa, written by Iowans, include novels, memoirs, and historical studies portraying every part of the state." Bob McCown worked at the University of Iowa Library, Special Collections, for many years and was a long-time member and leader of the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association. This article first appeared in the publication Books at Iowa 65 (November 1996).
Clarence Andrews, A Literary History of Iowa, The University of Iowa Press, 1972. This amazing book devotes an entire chapter to Ruth Suckow (Chapter 7, Ruth Suckow: The Poetry of Place). Andrews was a member of the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association and a Suckow Scholar. He also discusses Bess Streeter Aldrich and James Hearst in his book, which covers Iowa writers up to 1971. https://www.uipress.uiowa.edu/books/2006-spring/andlithis.htm
Iowa Literary History, 1971-1991 by CLARENCE ANDREWS. This essay about Iowa Literary history picks up from where he left off in his book, mentioned above. The essay was published in Books at Iowa (April 1992) but you can read it at the link below. Copyright: The University of Iowa
Want to know more about Iowa History? Dorothy Schweider was a Professor of History at Iowa State University and wrote a book about the history of Iowa.
Iowa: The Middle Land 1st Edition by Dorothy Schwieder (Author)
ISBN-13: 978-1587295492 ISBN-10: 1587295490
The History of Iowa: here is an online essay by Dorothy Schwieder, Professor of History, Iowa State University.
Last Updated March 5, 2021
Cherie Dargan, webmaster