City of Writers

Iowa City is a place known for football, drinking and college students. However, underneath the standard college student activities, is a world of young writers, each developing their own voice.

It is no doubt that the University of Iowa is known for its writing programs, Undergraduate and Graduate. With so many strong voices in one town, you would think it would be intimidating; but not for Iowa Junior, Bryn Lovitt.

Bryn Lovitt

Since the age of seven, Lovitt has always had a fascination for writing. She even credits a computer game entitled, “The Secret Writers Society”, for kick starting her love and appeal for writing.

“It’s been my one consistent, creative outlet my entire life,” stated Lovitt. “It’s not so much that I want to do this for a career, more it’s just who I’ve become”.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, like many other aspiring writers, Lovitt found Iowa City and the University the perfect place to further her writing education.

“I wanted to go to a place where writing was appreciated. And I felt that where I was at for the first 18 years of my life, was the not the right place for me”.

In regards to her writing education and really understanding the craft, Lovitt stressed the importance of knowing everything there is to know about writing itself.

She commented that it would be virtually impossible to really be a good writer without reading about writing and writing every single day.

With such a strong devotion and love for writing, it is no wonder that Lovitt is the co-founder of the local group, “Iowa City Writers”.

“It started up just as an idea I had with a friend of mine freshman year, who was also into writing. Then more people got interested at it just became something bigger,” commented Lovitt.

Stemming from the English Department here at the University of Iowa, Iowa City Writers gives anyone the chance to submit a piece of writing and have it critiqued by students such as Lovitt.

“It’s really refreshing to find someone who loves writing as much as I do,” stated Cole Konopka, the other founder of Iowa City Writers. “That’s really hard to find in a city dominated by people who tend to be more concerned with drinking”.

Although the group had a big of a rocky start, the founders have begun to see a very positive reaction from the general public.

“Anyone that falls in love with their first draft is an idiot,” stated Lovitt. “Our goal is to help people with their writing while maintaining a positive and sincere critique”.

At each meeting, the group spends the first 20-30 minutes reading any writing they would feel open to sharing. This really allows each writer to show the others ‘what they’ve got’.

The last 30 minutes of the meeting are set aside for the formal workshop aspect of the group, where two pieces will be critiqued.

These workshops are also opened to any type of writing, long or short. Poems, fiction, non-fiction, anything and everything is welcome.

For Lovitt, reading the submissions and providing feedback are her favorite parts of the entire experience.

“I’m the main contact for people submitting writing to the workshop, so I do a lot of reading,” commented Bryn. “It’s fun and interesting to see what stories people come up with”.

“It’s been a really rewarding process so far. I feel so honored to have been elected such a high position in the group,” stated Lovitt.

Lovitt shared a few words of advice for perspective submitters. Here is a list of just a few,

  1. If you’re hesitant about submitting, always do. It’s hard to get improve if you don’t take criticism and learn from your mistakes.
  2. Don’t be afraid. We maintain a really positive environment that welcomes inexperienced and experienced writers. Everyone’s welcome.
  3. Have fun. It’s all about learning to love writing!

Lovitt plans on continuing on with the Iowa City Writers community until she graduates. After graduation, she foresees graduate school, like many others. The University of Texas at Austin, which was voted one of the best graduate programs for writing, is among the top of her list.

When I asked her if she ever considered the Writer’s Workshop here at Iowa, she noted that it was a really good program, but that she would like to branch out and find somewhere new to spread her craft.

It does not matter if you are 20 or 50, if you find something you are passionate about, grab a hold of it with everything you have, Bryn Lovitt surely has.

For anyone who is interested in submitting a piece for critique, visit the Iowa City Writers Facebook Page. Or visit their page through the English Society website at the University of Iowa.

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