Welcome to the Cedar Falls Authors Festival Website

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. 

We are planning a year of events to celebrate our Literary heritage and create awareness of these authors and their work, 
as well as other remarkable local writers: we are calling it the Cedar Falls Authors Festival. 

Events will run from May 2017 through May 2018.

Currents/Channel 15 Video

Mary Taylor served as moderator for an interview with Scott Cawelti, Rosemary Beach, and Cherie Dargan 
on Thursday, April 20 at the Channel 15 studio; segments will begin airing soon. You can also view it on YouTube!

The segments introduce the public to the festival events, which begin in early May, as well as the five nationally known authors: Bess Streeter Aldrich, Ruth Suckow, James Hearst, Nancy Price and Robert James Waller.

Waterloo Courier Article About the Festival and Scott Cawelti's Program on Robert Waller

Find us on Facebook!

The Festival on the UNI website

The UNI Library has created a set of pages about the Authors Festival

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

Our Five Authors


ruth suckow
February 17, 1881 -– August 3, 1954

August 6, 1892 --  January 23, 1960



March 16, 1925

August 8, 1900 -- July 27, 1983



August 1, 1939 -- March 10, 2017
Robert James Waller's death

We received sad news, as Robert James Waller died March 10, 2017. Here is the story from the Waterloo Courier.
"UPDATE: "Bridges of Madison Co.' author Robert Waller dies," by Melody Parker. Mar 10, 2017. Waterloo Courier.

  • "Waller's friendship born in music," by Scott Cawelti, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Waterloo Courier.

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

    Local artist Gary Kelley has designed a piece of art featuring quotes from our five authors.
    The poster will be used to promote the Festival, and signed copies will be 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.


    Are you a Cedar Falls author? 

    We are defining a “Cedar Falls Author” as a person either born in Cedar Falls or who has spent a substantial amount of time living and writing in the city. 
    We are gathering information to create a Directory of Cedar Falls Authors, which will be posted on the Cedar Falls Library website, as well as here. 

    In addition, if you are an author and have a birthday in August, we want to include you in our August Birthday Readathon at the Cedar Falls Public Library.  We are looking for people with August birthdays who will read a brief excerpt of their writing (10-15 minutes): please contact us at cfauthorsfestival@gmail.com.

    Please complete our authors' survey to become part of the Directory of Cedar Falls Authors--or to share the name of a Cedar Falls author (living or dead).

    Does your organization have an event that you think might fit into our Cedar Falls Authors Festival? 


    The Festival kicks off in early May 2017 and runs through May 2018. 



    This Google Form helps you to provide all of the details about your event; the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau has put together a brochure listing events. 

    If the Cedar Falls authors Festival committee finds your event fits our guidelines, we will add it to the brochure. 


    Last updated May 23, 2017

    Cherie Dargan, Webmaster