Celebration of Literary Arts

Due to the COVID-19 recommendations, our Celebration of Literary Arts Festival has been cancelled for the spring.

​​​​​​​​​​2020 Celebration of Literary Arts Festival​

The Celebration of Literary Arts Festival was initiated at DMACC in conjunction with the National Poetry Festival. The purpose of this celebration is to bring noted fiction and poetry writers to the six DMACC campuses to read their works and interact with students. Central to the festival is the idea that writers can be published and that one can indeed make a living as a professional writer or professional writer/faculty member. In addition to readings on campus, writers have evening readings at a local bookstore. Each year, the writers read at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines. 

For additional information contact Celebration of Literary Arts Coordinator, Marc Dickinson, 515-964-6221.

2020 Participating Writers

National Writers

​​Jill McCorkle
North Carolina State University
Old Dominion University,
Professor Emeritus
Molly Antopol 
Harvard University​

Brian Turner
Sierra Nevada University

  Christine Stewart-Nuñ​ez
  South Dakota State University​​

Iowa Writers

Leah Hui
Drake University

Casey Knott
Author of Ground Work
Kate Wright
Iowa State University
Crystal Stone
Poetry Editor,
Flyway: Journal of Environmental Writing
Isaac Pressnell
Graceland University

Joseph LeValley
Public Speaker
Marilyn Baszcynski
Iowa Poetry Association

Maggie Ann Martin​  
Young Adult Author,
Swoon Reads (Macmillan) 

Kartika Budhwar
Iowa State University

Caroliena Cab
Iowa State University

» View the complete schedule of events 


Previous Celebration of Literary Arts Festivals

2019​ Festival


  • Dorothy Allison
  • Jamel Brinkley, Stanford University
  • ​Maggie Smith, Ohio Wesleyan University​
Iowa Writers 
  • Grant Faulkner, Executive Director, National Novel Writing Month
  • Brian Burmeister, Iowa State University
  • Jennifer Colville, Prompt Press 
  • Jacob Dawson, Iowa State University
  • John Domini, AWP: Associated Writing Programs
  • Lau Cesarco Eglin, Simpson College
  • Lauren Haldeman, University of Iowa
  • Kim Magowan, Mills College
  • Lettie Prell, SFWA: Science Fiction & ​Fantasy Writers of America
  • Steve Rose, Simpson College, ​Professor Emeritus
  • Michelle N. Ross, Fiction Editor, Atticus Review​                 

2018 Festival


  • Pam Houston, University of California, Davis
  • Justin Torres, University of California, Los Angeles


  • Jennifer Chang, George Washington University
  • Matthew Olzmann, Warren Wilson MFA Program

Iowa Writers

  • Dean Bakopoulos, Grinnell College
  • Alissa Nutting, Grinnell College
  • Chloe Clark, Iowa State University
  • George Barlow, Grinnell College
  • Claire Kruesel, Iowa State University
  • Jennifer Wilson, St. Martin’s Press
  • Ryan Collins, St. Ambrose University​
  • Paula Smith, Grinnell College
  • Michaela Mullin, Nomadic Press
  • Emma Murray, Gold Wake Press

2017 Festival


  • Charles Baxter, University of Minnesota
  • Kevin Brockmeier, Iowa Writers’ Workshop
  • Megan Mayhew Bergman, Bennington College
  • Charles D'Ambrosio, Iowa Writers’ Workshop



  • Tarfia Faizullah, University of Michigan
  • Oliver de la Paz, College of the Holy Cross

Iowa Writers

  • Devon Walker-Figueroa, Iowa Writer's Workshop/Poetry Editor Iowa Review
  • ​Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell College
  • Molly McDonald, Iowa State University
  • Rick Christman, DMACC, Professor Emeritus
  • Hai-Dang Phan, Grinnell College
  • Ned Balbo, Iowa State University
  • Calla Devlin, Young Adult Novelist


  • Matt Bell, Arizona State University
  • Robin Balck, Rutgers University-Camden, MFA Program


  • Kevin Prufer, University of Houston
  • Ada Limon, Queens University of Charlotte, Low Residency MFA

Iowa Writers

  • Tim Bascom, Waldorf College
  • Paul Brooke, Grand View University
  • Meg Johnson, Iowa State University
  • Jennifer L. Knox, Iowa State University
  • Magogodi Makhene, Iowa Writer's Workshop
  • Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell College​

2015 Festival


  • Bret Anthony Johnston, Harvard University
  • Rebecca Makkai, Sierra Nevada College


  • Roger Reeves, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Rebecca Hazelton, Oklahoma State University

Iowa Writers

  • Barbara Haas, Iowa State University
  • Christiana Langenberg, Iowa State University
  • Kyle McCord, Grand View University
  • Sarah Smith, Iowa Writers' Workshop
  • Brian Spears, Drake University
  • Grant Tracey, University of Northern Iowa


2014 Festival


  • Laura van den Berg, Emerson College
  • Evie Shockley, Rutgers University


  • Alan Heathcock, Boise State University
  • Ross Gay, Indiana University

Iowa Writers

  • Jim O'Loughlin, University of Northern Iowa
  • Kali VanBaale, Drake University
  • Hannah Loeb, Iowa Writers' Workshop
  • Larry Baker, Kirkwood Community College
  • K.L. Cook, Iowa State University
  • Charissa Menefee, Iowa State University

2013 Festival


  • Kyle Minor, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Fall 2013
  • Ron Carlson, University of California, Irvine
  • Caitlin Horrocks, Grand Valley State University


  • Aimee Nezhukumatathil, State University of New York
  • Matthew Dickman, Vermont College of Fine Arts

Iowa Writers 

  • Mary Swander, Iowa State University
  • Jeremy Schraffenberger, University of Northern Iowa
  • Heather Derr-Smith, Iowa State University
  • David Wolf, Simpson College
  • Deborah Kennedy, Iowa Writers' Workshop
  • Winifred Moranville, Simpson College

2012 Festival


  • Charles D'Ambrosio
  • Danielle Evans


  • Dorianne Laux
  • Joseph Millar

Iowa Writers 

  • David Zimmerman, Iowa State University
  • Grant Tracey, University of Northern Iowa
  • Jennifer Perrine, Drake University
  • Neal Bowers, Iowa State University
  • May Letter, Drake University
  • Vince Gotera, University of Northern Iowa

2011 Festival


  • Antonya Nelson, University of Houston
  • Steven Schwartz, Colorado State University


  • Denise Duhamel, Florida International University
  • C. Dale Young, Warren Wilson MFA Program

Iowa Writers 

  • Benjamin Percy, Iowa State University
  • Grant Tracey, University of Northern Iowa
  • B.J. Love, Iowa Writers' Workshop
  • Deb Marquart, Iowa State University
  • Carol Spaulding-Kruse, Drake University
  • Yasmina Madden, Drake University

2010 Festival

  • Fiction writer Jonas Agee, Head of the Creative Writing Program at University of Nebraska and author of 6 novels
  • Fiction Writer ​CJ Hribal from Marquette University in Wisconsin
  • Poet Camille Dungy from San Francisco State in California
  • Poet Kevin Stein from Bradley in Illinois (former Poet Laureate of Illinois)