As the world’s preeminent creative writing program, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop has produced an astonishing number of distinguished writers and poets since its establishment in 1936. Its alumni and faculty include 28 Pulitzer Prize winners, six U.S. poets laureate, and numerous National Book Award winners.

Until now, no one has fully examined the complicated and dramatic story of how this program became one of the most influential forces in American literary culture, but at 6 p.m. on April 19, Bookends & Beginnings will host David Dowling, author of the new book “A Delicate Aggression: Savagery and Survival in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop,” which fully documents that story.

Focusing on some of the exceptional authors who have participated in the program – such as Flannery O’Connor, Dylan Thomas, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Smiley, Sandra Cisneros, T. C. Boyle and Marilynne Robinson – Mr. Dowling will examines how the Iowa Writers’ Workshop has shaped professional authorship, the publishing industry and the course of American literature.

Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made at The bookstore will also participate in the annual indie bookstore crawl on April 27. The crawl encourages book lovers to indulge in bookstore tourism by visiting 10 or more stores in a single day.   

“We love the crawl not just because it’s fun for customers to do, but also because for anyone who hits that many stores in a day, it’s a crash course in how every single Chicagoland indie store has a unique vibe and a unique selection,” said store owner Nina Barrett.

Bookends & Beginnings is located in the alley behind 1712 Sherman Ave.