The 15th Annual Mission Creek Festival, an indie music and lit mainstay, will be held in Iowa City on April 1-4, 2020. The great thing about Mission Creek is the way it aspires to turn music lovers onto new lit, writers onto new music, and generally just get everyone excited by art, community, and culture. (It’s also a good place to get acquainted with Iowa City’s renowned graduate and undergraduate writing programs. Ahem.)
This year’s Mission Creek Festival line-up is pretty great, and will feature literary names like Samantha Irby, Tommy Pico, and Jenny Offill and performances by musicians, Kim Gordon, (Sandy) Alex G, Parquet Courts, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Lucy Dacus, Mdou Moctar, Caroline Rose, Lonnie Holley, and many more.
Friday’s Mission Creek Lit Walk will hold readings in boutiques, restaurants, and bars throughout Iowa City, hosted by the Iowa Writers’ House, Canarium Press, Nomadic Press, The Iowa Review, University of Iowa Press, Sarabande, the Writers of Color Reading Series, and more. It will culminate with a headliner-reading by memoirist T Kira Madden (Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls), poet Michael Torres, and University of Iowa graduate student Natalia Reyes. The festival takes place at over a dozen downtown venues perfect for interactive, multidisciplinary experiences, like a slated in-conversation event with poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib (A Fortune for Your Disaster) and musician Adia Victoria; Chicago singer/songwriter Tasha will also present work side by side with students from University of Iowa writing programs.
Saturday’s programming will include: a Literary Magazine & Small Press Book Fair hosted at the Mill Restaurant and bar; a (Mis) Translation workshop with Kristen Renee Miller where you can build your own sonic poem; readings by Garth Greenwell (Cleanness) and Paul Lisicky (Later: My Life at the Edge of the World); and a joint reading by Debut Two Dollar Radio author Sarah Rose Etter (The Book of X) and author Matt Bell (Appleseed, Scrapper).
Among the notable national and international voices will be:
Bestselling author and consummate funny person Samantha Irby, who rose to fame with her blog bitches gotta eat, will release a new essay collection, Wow, No Thank You, just days before headlining the first night of 2020 festivities.
Poet Tommy Pico—the award-winning author of four books of poetry including, most recently, Feed—is originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation. A 2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry and winner of a 2018 Whiting Award, he’s been profiled in the New Yorker and reviewed by the New York Times.
Jenny Offill will read at Iowa City’s historic bookstore Prairie Lights on Thursday, April 2 from her newest book, Weather. This book follows her nationwide bestseller Dept of Speculation as well as Last Things, a New York Times Notable Book.
Helen Phillips is the author of five books, including, most recently, the novel The Need, a nominee for the 2019 National Book Award and a New York Times Notable Book of 2019.
Kristen Radtke, the author of the graphic nonfiction book Imagine Wanting Only This (2017), will present a first look at her forthcoming book Seek You: Essays on American Loneliness (2021), which explores the crisis of loneliness through text and image.