Iowa: A Literary Landscape

Editor's Forward

Every project has its inspiration and this one got it's start one evening in Spring 2001 when Vicky Maloy called my attention to a book just returned to her Busse Library Interlibrary Loan desk. It is The Traveler's Reading Guide edited by Maggy Simony and published by Facts on File, 1993.  As I browsed it, I saw a title (Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide edited by Dennis Ribbens) which caused me to comment that there should be a bibliography of books set in Iowa. A quick check of OCLC's WorldCat verified that an extensive bibliography did not appear to have been published though several time-limited ones have. It also verified that stories I knew to be set in Iowa were not always indicated in bibliographic record subject headings or content notes.

In the next few days, I made a few notes, collected a few citations and put the idea into the 'to be done when there is time' electronic pigeonhole. Several weeks later, Kristy Raine asked me for a project for a Saturday she was to work.  I suggested that if it was a quiet day she might like to begin accumulating citations for a bibliography of fiction in which Iowa was a character.  Much is written about Iowa writers because of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and people's curiosity about authors. Very few people have documented the resulting books that the landscape and Iowa-state-of-mind inspired in students at the Workshop, Iowa citizens and others who looked to the state to provide a setting for the stories they needed to tell.

Well, as they say, the rest is history. Kristy became obsessed with the chase and you see the result here.  Marilyn Murphy and I made suggestions about sources to explore, sent citations we came upon and kept marveling at the finds Kristy was making. We three conferred often and animatedly and made decisions  about the direction and scope of the project as it progressed. Now as editor, I had the fun of designing and preparing the web pages. The files are listed on the right side of the first page of each file. The files print on from one page to approximately twenty-five pages, depending on your internet browser and printer settings. The longest file (All Authors) will be split into files later as this book grows. These files are designed to load quickly on most internet connections and are laid out for either one- or two-sided printing, with margins suitable for binding or punching for a notebook.

We first sought publishing funding so that print volumes could be distributed to the many public and academic libraries in Iowa.  That was not to be. This turns out to be a good thing. Electronic publishing allows us to continually revise and add files to the manuscript and web site as we and you find more books and stories to add to the bibliography.  Librarians, individual readers and researchers wishing to have a copy may then economically print each revision. 

We are publishers, as well as editors and researchers. This electronic book is another resource for Busse Library at where it is linked on several pages. We hope Iowa librarians will link it to their library webpages.

This is a work in progress. There will probably be added files as ideas germinate. In fact as we were putting the finishing touches on the manuscript, another idea occurred and we added the Appendix: Landscape Literature, a bibliography of resources of literary criticism and commentary on the landscape in literature and art. 

Please send us citations to books and short works we have missed (of which we are certain there must be many) and exact setting information for citations we know to have been set in Iowa but for which do not have the exact location.  We also will entertain ideas for appendices (files) we could research and add. The Busse Library email address is at the bottom of each file.  We look forward to hearing from you. We also thank those who made suggestions along the way. If you want to be notified of updates to this page send an email to be put on a distribution list.

We only ask that use of the bibliography be cited as follows (or in other appropriate citation styles):

Raine, Kristy, Linda L. Scarth and Marilyn Murphy. Iowa: A Literary Landscape. Cedar Rapids, IA: Busse Library, Mount Mercy University, 2002. Accessed [date]: URL:

Linda L. Scarth, March 2002. NOTE: URL reflects most current version of web content.

Iowa Literary Landscape

Editor's Forward



Recent Project Additions

Adult Books A-F

Adult Books G-H

Adult Books I-R

Adult Books S-Z

Short Stories & Novellas

Children's Books

Young Adult Books

All Authors

All Titles

Iowa Towns

Iowa Counties

Iowa Regions


Appendix: Landscape Literature

Appendix: Poetry Sources

Appendix: Feature Films

Appendix: Electronic Works

Appendix: Audio Works

Appendix: Non-English Editions

Appendix: Iowa Folklore


©Busse Library, Kristy Raine, Linda L. Scarth, Marilyn Murphy
Contact: Busse Library, Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402
telephone: 319-368-6465
site URL:
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last updated 23 June 2016