This is an informal book club that will focus on authors that graduated from or worked at the Iowa Writers' Workshop or related programs. The Writers' Workshop and its graduates have made a significant contribution to contemporary writing. Workshop alumni have won a dozen Pulitzer Prizes, as well as numerous National Book Awards and other major literary honors. In 2003, the Workshop received a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was the first Medal awarded to a university, and only the second given to an institution rather than an individual.

The goal of this club is to increase our exposure to the impressive number of notable authors that have made their way through the streets of Iowa City. As such, attendance at the meetings is encouraged but not necessary to be part of our club! Also, we understand that you have other commitments so feel free to read as many or as few of the choices as you wish. Everyone is welcome!

To learn more about the writing programs at Iowa visit Writers' Workshop - The University of Iowa.

Current Book Selection
December 2008-April 2009

The next selection for the CAIC's Book Club is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Gilead was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2005. Robinson teaches at the Writer's Workshop.

On lucky participant in this quarter’s selection will receive an autographed copy of Robinson's newest book, Home. Home is an entirely independent novel that takes place concurrently in the same locale. Home is a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. Marilynne Robinson speaks about Home on NPR's Weekend Edition which you can find at here

Past Book Selections
August-November 2008

This quarter’s Book Club selection is America America by Ethan Canine. America America set in a small town during the Nixon era and today, and is about America and family, politics and tragedy, and the impact of fate on a young man’s life.

Ethan Canin is the author of five books of fiction, among them the novels, America, America, and Carry Me Across the Water, the collection of long stories, The Palace Thief, and the collection of short stories, Emperor of the Air. His fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Paris Review, Granta, and The New Yorker, which named him one of 20 "writers for the new millennium." He a faculty member at the Writers’ Workshop and is also a physician.

May-July 2008

This quarter’s Writers’ Workshop book selection is Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón. Set in a fictional South American nation where guerrillas have long clashed with the government, Lost Radio City follows a trio of characters upended by civil strife. Norma, whose husband disappeared 10 years ago after the end of a civil war, hosts popular radio show that reconnects callers with their missing loved ones.

Alarcón is a 2004 graduate of the Writers’ Workshop. Daniel Alarcón’s fiction and nonfiction have been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Virginia Quarterly Review, Salon, Eyeshot and elsewhere. His story collection, War by Candlelight, was a finalist for the 2006 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, and the British journal Granta recently named him one of the Best Young American Novelists. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Fulbright Scholarship (2001), a Whiting Award (2004), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007).

January-April 2008

The next selection for the Writers’ Workshop Book Club is “The Meadow” by James Galvin. The Meadow is a true story that reads like a novel, its focal point being a piece of land in the Neversummer Mountains on the Colorado-Wyoming border. In a series of vivid vignettes and short sketches, Gavin records the 100-year history of the meadow and the few people who lived and died there.

Galvin is a faculty member of the Writers’ Workshop. His honors include a “Discovery”/The Nation award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

October-December 2007

Our second book is Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut. Kurt Vonnegut taught at the Writers’ Workshop.

Kurt Vonnegut was a master of contemporary American literature. His black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America's attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as "a true artist" with Cat's Cradle in 1963. He was, as Graham Greene declared, "one of the best living American writers.” Mr. Vonnegut passed away in April 2007.

June-August 2007

Our first book was My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. Orhan Pamuk was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature and is a veteran of the International Writing Program.

To learn more about the book visit

Contact Information and Locations

Contact Amanda Allexon at or at 703-299-6005.

Locations for events may vary. Watch the newsletter and website for information on specific events.