The series will return for the 2023-2024 academic year
Friday, May 5, 2023

The Book Matters series launched in Fall 2022 with a series of events and a new website to recognize the 49 University of Iowa scholars who published books in the last two years. The authors represent a wide range of disciplines.  

“The University of Iowa – The Writing University – is home to incredibly talented writers across campus, from the humanities to the sciences,” said Kristy Nabhan-Warren, associate vice president for research and V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Chair in Catholic Studies. “The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) identified a need on campus for a coordinated effort to celebrate and champion the writing strengths of UI researchers and scholars, particularly outside of traditional writing disciplines.”

As a part of the first year of the initiative, the OVPR hosted two featured readings with Prairie Lights, invited authors and their colleagues to a reception at the Old Capitol Museum with President Wilson, and scheduled an interdisciplinary conversation about community-engaged scholarship, which was postponed until the fall due to severe weather.

“These Book Matters events are not only an opportunity to shine a light on new books, which are the result of years of research and editing, but also a great opportunity to bring people together to discuss ideas and meet new colleagues,” said Nabhan-Warren.

The first of two readings co-hosted with Prairie Lights featured Victor Ray, F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor of sociology and criminology and African American studies, in conversation with Lina-Maria Murillo, assistant professor of gender, women's, and sexuality studies, history, and Latina/o/x studies, about Ray’s recent book On Critical Race Theory: Why it Matters and Why You Should Care.

The second reading featured Tara Bynum's book, Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America. Bynum is assistant professor of English and African American studies and a scholar of early African American literary histories before 1800. Bynum was joined by Ashley Howard, assistant professor of history, for a conversation and Q&A with the audience.

Photos of the 2022-2023 events are featured below.

Upcoming events

The 2023-2024 season will kick off with an event, “Scholars in Conversation at the Stanley,” on October 26, 4:30-6:00pm. The interdisciplinary conversation at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art will feature three UI community-engaged scholars who have recently published co-authored, collaborative works. They are:

The conversation will be moderated by Nick Benson, executive director of the Office of Community Engagement. A Q&A will follow the remarks. This event was originally scheduled for the spring 2023 semester but had to be postponed due to severe weather.

A reception for new authors will be held during the spring 2024 semester. Authors who have books coming out in academic year 2023-2024 are asked to notify the Office of the Vice President for Research via the Book Matters submission form for inclusion in upcoming events and the Book Matters website.

Additional readings will be announced at the start of the Fall 2024 semester.