The Dey House, a 140-year-old mansion, is home to the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, one of the oldest MFA writing programs in the country. Director Lan Samantha Chang — who attended the workshop as a student — has made it a priority to attract students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the program. Linda Kahlbaugh/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Linda Kahlbaugh/AP

Chaske Spencer plays Virgil First Raise in the film adaptation of James Welch's Winter in the Blood. KBD Photography/Ranchwater Films hide caption

itoggle caption KBD Photography/Ranchwater Films

Lois Lowry says she didn't think of The Giver as "futuristic or dystopian or science fiction or fantasy" — it was just a story about a kid making sense of a complicated world. Matt McKee/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hide caption

itoggle caption Matt McKee/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Thrity Umrigar has authored six novels and is a professor of English at Case Western Reserve University. Robert Muller/Thrity Umrigar hide caption

itoggle caption Robert Muller/Thrity Umrigar