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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.
 

June 2018 -- The Final Program of the CFAF

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



Wrapping up the Cedar Falls Authors Festival: A few Reflections

Shortly after I retired from Hawkeye Community College, Barbara Lounsberry invited me to join a committee exploring ways to honor five best-selling authors with Cedar Falls ties: Bess Streeter Aldrich, Ruth Suckow, James Hearst, Nancy Price, and Robert James Waller. Other committee members included: Rosemary Beach, Jan Andersen, Kim Manning, Mary Taylor, Mary Brammer, and Scott Cawelti. Together, we created the Cedar Falls Authors Festival.

We began planning in the fall of 2016. We applied for a grant from the Cedar Falls Community Foundation (The Saul and Joan Diamond Community Enhancement Grant) and received $5,000 for our budget. We enlisted the help of a number of organizations around the community: The Cedar Falls Public Library, the Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau, The Hearst Center for the Arts, The Rod Library, The Cedar Falls Historical Society, The Western Home Communities, and many others. Since we had a small budget, we used our brochures, the Gary Kelley posters, and media partners to promote our events, as well as our website and Facebook.

Early on, I discovered a wonderful website created by the students of Dr. Tom Connors at UNI in 2012: https://sites.google.com/site/historicalcedarfalls/. The literature page mentioned all five of our authors and was a wonderful resource. I created our website, www.cfauthorsfestival.org: the only expense was buying the domain name.

Programs began in May 2017 and go through June 9, when we wrap with the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association’s Annual Meeting, and a presentation by Ken Lyftogt, open to the public. We spent a month focusing on each of the five authors, had an August birthday party readathon, invited local authors to participate in a book fair, and launched the second part of our festival in January —celebrating local authors, many of them writing about history or history-based fiction.

We had a finale at the Hearst Center several weeks ago to thank participants, partnering organizations, our steering committee and the larger collaborative committee. Here are a few highlights from the program.

            As we wind down, we feel a sense of accomplishment.  We showcased our five best-selling, nationally known authors and created a greater awareness of Cedar Falls’ historic, literary legacy. We gave an opportunity for local writers to give presentations, serve on panels, participate in a book fair, and attend a free workshop on blogging. We packed the house at many events.
          


What are my takeaways from this project?

 

·       Cedar Falls is an extraordinary community that cares about literature and literacy, values its public library and museums, and shows up for events.

 

·       Our partners were wonderful: we could not have succeeded without their participation. The Cedar Falls Public Library, Hearst Center for the Arts, and the Rod Library hosted most of our programs, and staff members were helpful.  

 

·       Most of the committee members were retired; however, two were hard-working women with a day job. A big thanks to Mary Taylor of Western Home Communities and Kim Manning of the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

 

·       Creating Facebook events proved useful: when my husband began using his iPhone to do Facebook Live at events, it was a wonderful experiment. Presenters with relatives in other towns got feedback: “I watched your event!”

Thanks, Cedar Falls! I cannot imagine a better way to start retirement than getting involved with the Cedar Falls Authors Festival: and thank you to our co-chairs, Rosemary Beach and Barbara Lounsberry. 


 THANK YOU FROM THE CEDAR FALLS AUTHORS FESTIVAL!

The success of the Cedar Falls Authors Festival has surpassed our fondest hopes. We have broad community and university support, our financial partners, media partners and many interested guests to thank for those successes.

We’ve reintroduced our five nationally-recognized authors, provided forums for new or less well-known authors to share their expertise on many interesting topics and helped create renewed interest in local and Iowa history.

We’re sure the festival events would have particularly pleased librarian Joan Diamond, who devoted her life to books. (Funding for events came from The Saul and Joan Diamond Community Enhancement Grant)

By the numbers:

·      More than 60 events were held from May 2017 to May 2018

·      More than 3,200 guests attended

·      Nearly 40 speakers presented

·      A dozen festival presentations were made to clubs and service groups

·      A dozen permanent projects have created a lasting legacy

 A Permanent Legacy

Gary Kelley’s original artwork for the festival’s poster was given to Cedar Falls Public Library for permanent display.

“Amongst" by UNI student-sculptor Hanna Seggerman honoring Ruth Suckow and Ferner Nuhn is on temporary display in the Hearst Sculpture Garden.

A commemorative plaque in Seerley Park honors Nancy Price and other writers who lived and wrote there.

Screening “Sleeping with the Enemy” in Seerley Park prompted the upgrade of its electrical capacity, allowing for new events to be hosted there.

Additional illustrations by Nancy Price have been added to the Hearst Center’s permanent collection.

“Red Geraniums” features new James Hearst poems discovered and published by Jim O’Loughlin.

A commemorative reissue of North American Review magazine from 1974 features James Hearst.

An updated Bess Streeter Aldrich driving tour featuring sites important to her life and work was produced.

The plaque honoring Bess Streeter Aldrich in her namesake park in North Cedar has been refurbished and reset.

A Cedar Falls authors directory will be created and  preserved on the CFAF website, as well as the Cedar Falls Public Library website.

Cedar Falls Cable Television Channel 15 has an archive of interviews and footage of festival events.

The Cedar Falls Authors Festival website, www.cfauthorsfestival.org, will remain active and continue to be vital source of information on our local authors.

The Umbrella Committee
 
 
Mary Taylor, Cherie Dargan, Mary Brammer, Rosemary Beach, Kim Manning, & Scott Cawelti at City Hall, after submitting our Proclamation to City Council and the Mayor. Missing: Jan Anderson and Barbara Lounsberry.Cherie Dargan, Rosemary Beach and Barbara Lounsberry after a program 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. 



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


cropped

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


August 6, 1892 --  January 23, 1960


 

 


March 16, 1925


August 8, 1900 -- July 27, 1983
   
 

         


CELEBRATING 
CEDAR FALLS' 
            LITERARY LEGACY
FROM PIONEER DAYS 
TO TODAY

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 June 8, 2018

Cherie Dargan, Webmaster


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