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 planned 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 called it the Cedar Falls Authors Festival. 
Events ran from May 2017 and continue through June 2018. 
Now that we have launched all FIVE of our authors' programs, we're even more excited! Look for the Festival logo, our Posters, and volunteers around town.

Barbara Lounsberry recently summed up our activities during 2017 this way: We had 40 Authors Festival events from May to December 2017 at 20 Cedar Falls sites (CF Public Library; Hearst Center for the Arts & Sculpture Garden; Rod Library; UNI Museum; Oster Regent Theatre; CF Women’s Club; University Book & Supply; Western Home Communities; New Aldaya Lifescapes; Bess Streeter Aldrich Park; Bess Streeter Aldrich School site; Streeter cabin; Hillside Cemetery; Seerley Park; Nancy Price Iowa Street former home; UNI President’s home; and 3 Tremont Street homes in Sleeping with the Enemy). We estimate that over 2,500 have attended our programs.

Wrapping up our Festival

What a wonderful year we have had so far, launching all five of our Authors! Thank you for your support up to now. So far, our History Writers Series programs have been well attended. These include events at the Cedar Falls Public Library (including their Local Author Showcase), the Final Thursday authors at the Hearst Center and programs at the Rod Library at UNI. Watch our calendar and Facebook page for updates and photos. Our Final program will take place in June, during the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association Annual Meeting at the Cedar Falls Library.

Pictures from this Weekend's Programs: The Blogging Panel and Scott Cawelti's Program 

Panel for Blogging Workshop
Our blogging panel: Jocelyn Green, Robyn Mulder, Cherie Dargan, and Mary Potter Kenyon.

It was a mini reunion for the Cedar Falls Christian Writers Workshop, since that is where I met all of these wonderful writers.
Scott had a packed house for his program. He gave an update about the book he wrote about the Mark family murder, which was just featured in a television program about true crimes.

The gentleman with the suspenders, Mike Dargan, has been live streaming some of our Festival programs, using Facebook Live, with great results. 

We aren't done yet! You can still catch a few programs. Please join us

April 2018
  • Saturday, April 14, 2 pm, UNI Rod Library, "From Tutors to Panthers" (UNI's Rod Library, 2nd floor) with Jim Kelly
  • Sunday, Apr. 29, 2 p.m., Cedar Falls Public Library, “The Tunis Speedway Chronicles,” Jim Volgarino
 May 2018 
  • Wednesday, May 2: Local Author Showcase, Cedar Falls Public Library Meeting Room, 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

    Dorothy A. Winsor 

  • Saturday, May 12, 2 p.m., New Aldaya Main Street: The Revue Performing Arts Center, reception Elm’s Pub. “Lynn & Mary Nielsen’s I’ll Be Seeing You: The Letters & Diaries of an Iowa WAC in World War II,” Barbara Lounsberry, Mary Brammer, Scott Cawelti, Sue Hummel, Karin Leonard, Mary Nielsen, and Annelie Nielsen Heinen
  • Sunday, May 20, 2 p.m., Cedar Falls Public Library, “Stories from Cedar Falls History: Faces, Places, & Cases,” Dr. David Whitsett

June 2018

The Ruth Suckow Memorial Association (RSMA) will return to the Cedar Falls Public Library for our Annual Meeting. Then, at 1 pm we will welcome the public to a brief address by Kenneth Lyftogt. Ken did the first program of 2018 back in January, and it is fitting that he will do the final program in our Cedar Falls Authors Festival series.

Saturday, June 9, 1 p.m., Cedar Falls Public Library (Second Floor Meeting Room), “Going to the Woods: Ruth Suckow and the Early 20th Century Midwest,” Kenneth Lyftogt

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.
If you haven't checked it out lately, take a look. You will see that they list books by each author, as well as give some biographical information. In addition, they list artifacts found in the UNI Special Collections.

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

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

Local artist Gary Kelley 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 define 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).


Last updated April 15, 2018

Cherie Dargan, Webmaster

See also our Contact Page