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. 
Now that we have launched two of our authors' programs (Waller and Suckow), we're even more excited! Look for the Festival logo, our Posters, and volunteers around town.

August Birthday & Readathon fun!

 Our birthday cake     Rosemary Beach reads from Aldrich

Saturday, August 5 Readathon Schedule


Hosted by the Cedar Falls Public Library: cake and drinks were served all day.


Drop in any time during the day and enjoy birthday cake and hear works by Cedar Falls’ notable writers—most born, by chance or fate, in August:


10 to 11 a.m. – The Life and Works of Bess Streeter Aldrich -- Rosemary Beach). 

Selections from Song of the Years (set in Cedar Falls) and other works


11 to noon – Robert James Waller (born August 1)

Selections: “Jump Shots”; A Canticle for Roadcat”; “Going Soft Upon the Land and Down Along the Rivers”


Noon to 1 p.m.: Ruth Suckow (born August 6) -- Barbara Lounsberry.

Selections: “A Great Mollie,” “Resurrection,” “A Rural Community”


1 to 2 p.m.: The Life and Works of the Reverend Charlie Shedd (born August 8) – Cherie Dargan

Selections from: Letters to Karen, Letters to Philip, Tell Me a Story, and How to Make People Feel Really Loved . . . and other Life-Giving Inspirations


2 to 3 p.m.: The life and Works of James Hearst (born August 8)--Scott Cawelti

Selections: “Truth,” “Landscape Iowa,” “Seventy Times Seven,” “Who, Who?”, “Forsythia,” “Blind with Rainbows,” My Shadow Below Me. Scott Cawelti on guitar.

Barbara and Scott presented about James Hearst, and Scott sang some of his songs that put poetry to music. We had a special guest: Nancy Price came to hear Barbara read the "real" ending for Sleeping with the Enemy. 

Barbara Lounsberry & Rosemary Beach read from Robert Waller Mike Dargan read several pieces by the Rev. Charlie Shedd

3 to 3:45 p.m.: The Life and Works of Nancy Price--Barbara Lounsberry

Selections: Sleeping with the Enemy, “They Don’t Listen” (short story)

(Rumor has it that Nancy Price will join us for this session!)


3:45 to 4 p.m.: Diana Turnage (born August 18) & her children’s book


4 to 4:40 p.m.: Gail Froyen (born August 1)

Selections: Storytelling



Photo Highlights of Saturday, June 10th -- Suckow Celebration

Below: (left) our two special speakers (actress Lenore Howard and playwright Rebecca Christian) for the Saturday evening program on "Just Suppose," a play about Iowa writer Ruth Suckow, posing with our RSMA secretary Sara McAlpin who attended all of seven performances of the play in 1992. Lenore and Rebecca were with us all day, and we enjoyed getting acquainted. Middle: our public discussion of Suckow's novella, "A Part of the Institution." Right: Hannah, the UNI student who created the Sculpture honoring Ruth Suckow and Ferner Nuhn, poses with the sculpture at the Hearst Sculpture Garden. Nineteen individuals and families contributed to the cost of the sculpture, including members of the Cedar Falls Authors Festival Committee, the Cedar Falls Supper Club, and members of the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association.
Sara poses with Rebecca & Lenore at the Cedar Falls Library after our Annual Meeting. We had a good crowd for our discussion at 1:00 of the novella, "A Part of the Institution."

Hanna, a UNI student, and the sculpture she created to honor Ruth Suckow & Ferner Nuhn at the Hearst Sculpture Garden Saturday.

Nancy Price Weekend of Events, July 14-16   
Waterloo Courier article previewing the upcoming weekend: 'Enemy' within: Cedar Falls Authors Festival events celebrate Nancy Price, by Melody Parker. July 9, 2017. 

A crowd of at least 100 to 125 people viewed the movie Sleeping with the Enemy at Seerley Park Friday night. More than 200 people bought tickets for the Tour of Homes on Saturday. Since we ran OUT of the brochures, please see the attached one at the bottom of this page. Sunday, we gathered at the Hearst Center for the Panel discussion comparing the book and movie of Sleeping with the Enemy and it was standing room only, with people coming early and staying late for a moment to chat with Nancy Price and get her autograph.

People stood in line for a chance to chat with Nancy Price.  Nancy graciously posed for countless photos.    

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 are currently airing. You can also view it on YouTube!

The segments introduce the public to the festival events, which began 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; you can view them here.

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
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. 

    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 August 14, 2017

    Cherie Dargan, Webmaster

    See also our Contact Page!