Known as “sugar clay,” the Loess Hills are a beautiful habitat that stretch along the Missouri River Valley. George Catlin has labeled the hills as “soul melting scenery.” Cornelia F. Mutel calls them “fragile giants.” And Dr. John Price explains their essence as “sacred ground.” Western Iowa is celebrating this beautiful formation during the first Literary Loess event, connecting food and literature, on Saturday, September 22 from 10:00-2:00 pm in Waubonsie State Park at the Washawtee Lodge near Hamburg, Iowa. This event is kicking off Loess Hills and Heritage Week, which celebrates the region’s unique and cultural assets.
Local and regional authors and producers will be making connections between the landscape, literature, and local foods. Participants can come and go between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm or stay the whole time. Producers will provide local food samples, and authors will be featuring excerpts from their books at various intervals throughout the day. Featured authors at this event include Dr. John Price, Jack Phillips, Jeff Koterba, Ruth Harper, Marcy Seible, Matt Mason, Sean Doolittle, Kelly Madigan, Lisa Knop, Angela Glover, Mike Whye, and Sarah Mason.
Fresh produce and tastes of the region will include cheese and wine, mixed greens, lamb, beef, wild game, honey and more. This family-friendly event will incorporate hands-on writing opportunities, a craft, and “Hoop the Fair,” which will provide “easy, beginner’s hula hoops and gentle coaching to help people of all ages get hooping with ease,” said Kelly Madigan, author and founder of “Hoop the Fair.”
Golden Hills RC&D and Dr. John Price, University of Nebraska-Omaha English Professor, collaborated to coordinate this event. “The inaugural Literary Loess is the result of a long-time dream to bring together area writers and independent food producers to share the many ways this place inspires us. The beautiful Loess Hills is a local natural treasure, and those who join us will find nourishment for both body and mind,” said Price.
Literary Loess will be followed by a “Hike and Write” with naturalist and nature writer Jack Phillips, principal of the Naturalist School from 2:00-4:00 pm. Phillips will guide us through the hills and lead us through a writing exercise following the walk. “Mindful walking and writing makes us porous and through these natural acts we become wilder,” said Phillips.
Partners to support this event include Golden Hills RC&D, Friends of Waubonsie State Park, Loess Hills Scenic Byway, and the UNO English Department and Creative Nonfiction Writing Program.
Connect. Listen. Taste. Learn. Experience. Grow. All in the Loess Hills. For more information about this event contact Tina at Tina@goldenhillsrcd.org or call 712.482.3029.