What is the Author's Festival?
This year-long celebration is anticipated to reclaim the city’s unrecognized history as a rich seedbed for authors—from pioneer times to present. The Festival will celebrate Cedar Falls’ five nationally-known best-selling authors—Bess Streeter Aldrich, Ruth Suckow, James Hearst, Nancy Price and Robert James Waller—and many other Cedar Falls authors (past and present) through a rich series of interactive programs. The purpose of this festival is to not only remind Cedar Falls of its literary history, but to educate the generations to come.
Where did the idea originate?
The idea of an authors festival sparked when friends were gathered having coffee and discussing the literary history in Cedar Falls. The spark grew as the Umbrella Group shared the idea with arts and culture organizations in the area. It became what is now a collaboration of nearly 20 organizations in the community working to promote the authors festival through programs and events.
The organizations involved with the festival include: Cedar Falls Art and Culture Board, Cedar Falls Community Schools, Cedar Falls Community Main Street, Cedar Falls Community Theatre, Cedar Falls Historic Preservation Commission, Cedar Falls Historical Society, Cedar Falls Municipal Band, Cedar Falls Public Library, Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, Hearst Center for the Arts, New Aldaya, North American Review, and UNI English and Theatre Departments and the UNI Rod Library and Western Home Communities.
Will I get to meet an author?
First let’s introduce the authors. The five authors are highlighted because they started their writing careers in Cedar Falls, have best-selling pieces and are known nationally.
Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954) wrote 13 novels and 200 short stories. The novel, “Miss Bishop” was made into a Hollywood film, “Cheers for Miss Bishop,” and premiered in 1941 at the Regent Theatre in Cedar Falls.
Ruth Suckow (1892-1960) wrote nine novels and 43 short stories—most set in Iowa. Suckow’s most famous novel, “The Folks,” was a 1934 Literary Guild selection and bestseller. Suckow married Cedar Falls author Ferner Nuhn.
James Hearst (1900-1983) grew up on a family farm in Cedar Falls. He attended Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) where he later taught creative writing. He was particularly known for his poetry inspired from growing up on a farm.
Nancy Price, born in 1925 and currently residing in Cedar Falls, wrote 13 novels—five set in Cedar Falls. “Sleeping with the Enemy” became famous on film with actress Julia Roberts.
Robert Waller, (1939-2017) published seven novels and eight works of nonfiction. His famous novel, “The Bridges of Madison County”-based on existing sites in Iowa-became an Oscar-nominated film.
You have been waiting for it, so I will tell you. YES, you will be able to meet one of the five authors! Nancy Price will be participating in events around her work in July. To find more details visit the festivals website www.cfauthorsfestival.org.
What are some events and programs?
Events kick off May 4th with a focus on Robert Waller. Dozens of events will be hosted throughout the year from reading series to a birthday celebration and touring several homes featured in Price’s work. To see a complete list of our events, visit www.cfauthorsfestival.org. Most events are free.
Stay up to date on what’s happening with the festival.
Because this festival is a year in duration, events will continue to be added. For a brochure of events, stop by the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau or visit www.cfauthorsfestival.org. The website provides educational information about the authors as well as a Google calendar of events.
Want more ideas of places to visit and Things To Do while you're in Cedar Falls? Give us a call at the Cedar Falls Visitor Center. We can be reached at 319-268-4266 (800-845-1955). Or, stop by and see us at 6510 Hudson Road. We’re open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm, Saturday, 9 am – 4 pm and Sunday, noon until 4 pm.
We’d be happy to help you!
Many thanks to our guest blogger, Janelle Brehm.