New WOW! Wonder of Words Festival Launches October 17

DOWNTOWN DES MOINES – The Downtown Community Alliance and Des Moines Public Library are excited to announce a new event for the Greater Des Moines community called WOW! Wonder of Words Festival (WOW!).  This new festival will connect readers, writers, and publishers at events that celebrate reading and share the joy of lifelong learning. WOW! will employ all of the humanities, offering a variety of programs on fascinating subjects to stimulate, enlighten, and entertain Greater Des Moines. WOW! will be held Oct. 17-29, 2012 in various locations throughout Downtown Des Moines.

Featured events for WOW! include:

An Evening with Dennis Lehane, Oct. 25, 2012, Hoyt Sherman Place, 7:30 p.m. – Bestselling author Dennis Lehane will entertain guests with readings from his most current works, discussions on character and plot development, as well as a Q&A session with the audience. Lehane’s most recent release “Live By Night,” has been hailed as a “masterful crime epic” that spans from Prohibition-era Boston to Batista’s Cuba. “Live By Night” was just named one of the Best Books of 2012 by Publishers Weekly. The evening will also include a partial staged reading of Lehane’s only play “Coronado.” A VIP meet-and-greet reception with Lehane is scheduled to follow the event. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at the Hoyt Sherman Box office or online at

The Kate Shelley Story, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, Hoyt Sherman Place, 7:30 p.m. – The Kate Shelley Story, featuring Maria Newman and Mary Kay Shanley, is the story of a young Iowa girl is one that has captured the attention of Iowans for decades. To this day, it is hard to visit the Boone area without a retelling of the heroic tale of Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express. This live mixed-media performance will showcase: an original narrative and retelling of The Kate Shelley Story penned by bestselling author Mary Kay Shanley; an original musical score written and conducted by award-winning composer and virtuosic violinist Maria Newman; and the highly acclaimed federated actress with the Repertory Theatre of Iowa Alissa Tschetter-Siedschlaw will play the role of Kate. The performance will also feature several short silent films starring Jack and Mary Pickford, each of them scored by Ms. Newman, and again  featuring the Coulston Quartet. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at the Hoyt Sherman Box office or online at Kids 12 and under are admitted free.

Iowa Authors Fair – Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, Capital Square, 1-5 p.m. – The Iowa Authors Fair, featuring Humanities Iowa’s “Voices From the Prairie: The Annual Celebration of Iowa Writers” will feature more than 70 Iowa writers, publishers and bookstore owners who will share their lifelong love of books, learning and engagement for an entire afternoon at Capital Square in Downtown Des Moines. Panels of speakers from different literary genres and special programming will also be offered including a Kids Zone, sponsored by the United Way of Central Iowa Women’s Leadership Connection. This is a free event.

Community Partner Events

Full details can be found at

Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. – Central Library
Leaving Czechoslovakia Traveling Exhibit Opening

Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. – Grand View University
The Further Adventures of Maide Marian – Children’s Play

Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. – Grand View University
The Further Adventures of Maide Marian – Children’s Play

Saturday, Oct. 20 at 2 & 7 p.m. – Grand View University
The Further Adventures of Maide Marian – Children’s Play

Sunday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. – Central Library
Women Writers Forum

Sunday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. – Grand View University
The Further Adventures of Maide Marian – Children’s Play

Monday, Oct. 22 from noon to 1 p.m. – Grand View University
Marci Clark: E-publishing

Monday, Oct. 22 at 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m. – El Bait Shop, Library Café, High Life Lounge, Royal Mile
Pub(lishers) Crawl 

Monday, Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. – Central Library
Greenwich Village Authors Lorna Graham and Daphne Uviller

Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. – Temple for Performing Arts
America’s Darling: The Story of Jay N. “Ding” Darling Documentary Premiere

Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Grand View University
Do You Have a Secret?: Writing and Publishing Event

Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 2 and 3 p.m. – Grand View University
Setting Words/Singing Words

Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 5:30 p.m. – Central Library
African American Writers Forum

Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. – Hoyt Sherman Place Theater
An Evening with Dennis Lehane

Friday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. – Hoyt Sherman Place
The Kate Shelley Story – written by Mary Kay Shanley featuring Maria Newman 

Saturday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. – Grand View University
Iowa Author Stephen Lovely

Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. – Capital Square, 400 Locust St.
The Iowa Authors Fair
          Special Author presentations
          Tracey Garvis Graves (5 p.m. – Renaissance Savery Hotel)
          Zach Wahls (5 p.m. – Renaissance Savery Hotel

Monday, Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m. – Central Library
Latino Writers Forum

WOW! is co-produced by the Downtown Community Alliance and Des Moines Public Library. WOW! sponsors include: United Way of Central Iowa Women’s Leadership Connection, Douglas and Deborah West, The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines Rotary, Junior League of Des Moines, Full Court Press, Operation Downtown, The Des Moines Public Library Foundation, The Iowa Center for the Book, Hubbell Homes, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, West Bank, Humanities Iowa, Meredith Corporation, The Conlin Family Foundation, and the Union Pacific Foundation. Community Partners include: Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Grinnell College, The Iowa History Center at Simpson College, The Rotary Club of Des Moines, Grand View University. Media partners include Business Publications/The Business Record, The Des Moines Register, WHO Radio and WOI TV.

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